Giant US corporations issue warning to Biden over Russia – media
After US President Joe Biden threatened to hit Russia with devastating sanctions should its troops invade Ukraine, a number of major American firms have urged the White House to take the possible economic repercussions seriously.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), which represents Chevron, General Electric, and other big US corporations that do business with Moscow, are asking the administration to consider exempting certain products from financial penalties and allowing them to meet their obligations.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute, a major Washington lobby group, said that any embargos “should be as targeted as possible in order to limit potential harm to the competitiveness of US companies.”
A source in Congress told reporters that energy companies have directly contacted lawmakers to ensure that their assets would not be confiscated in the event they were not able to honor their deals in Russia.
Jake Colvin, the president of the NFTC, also said earlier this week that the Biden administration and lawmakers must “get the details right in case they must follow through on the threat of sanctions.”
The concerns from American enterprises come shortly after Biden threatened to hit his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin with penalties “he’s never seen before.” The US president, however, warned that potential embargoes, including eliminating the ability of Russian banks to conduct transactions in US dollars, would have a widespread impact beyond the country’s economy.
“I want to be clear with you, the serious imposition of sanctions relative to dollar transactions and other things, are things that are going to have a negative impact on the United States, as well as negative impacts on the economies of Europe as well, a devastating impact on Russia,” he explained.
In December, Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said that America, along with its allies in Europe, is considering the possibility of completely shutting off Russia from the global financial system if it attempts to launch an offensive in Ukraine.
Her threat came in the wake of a report published by US news agency Bloomberg, which suggested that Washington could target major Russian banks and sever Moscow’s access to the SWIFT payment system.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied having any plans for a military offensive, and has called the accusations “groundless and wrong.” Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, previously said that the movement of the country’s armed forces on its own territory is an internal matter and of no concern to anyone else, despite reports that up to 100,000 troops could have been deployed to the shared border.