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Russia lawmakers draft list of U.S. imports that could be banned

From Reuters - April 13, 2018

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russias lower house of parliament is to consider draft legislation that would give the Kremlin powers to ban or restrict a list of U.S. imports, reacting to new U.S. sanctions on a group of Russian tycoons and officials.

Senior lawmakers in the State Duma, which is dominated by Kremlin loyalists, said they had prepared the list ranging from food and alcohol to medicine and consulting services in response to Washingtons move last week.

It was not immediately clear if the draft legislation - which would allow the government to impose the measures should the need arise - would become law in its current form, or if it had the backing of the Kremlin.

A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it was understandable that Russian lawmakers wanted to retaliate against the U.S. measures. He said, though, that the Kremlin had yet to familiarise itself with the draft law.

The Russian parliament is often used to send assertive messages to foreign states, but these do not always translate into concrete measures.

Large-scale restrictions on U.S. goods and services would hurt American firms but could also cause significant disruption in Russia, where consumers flock to McDonalds restaurants, fly on vacation in Boeing jets, and use Apple phones.

The draft law, according to a text seen by Reuters, is aimed at protecting Russias interests and security in the face of unfriendly and unlawful acts by the United States of America and other foreign states.

Russian currency and stock markets, preoccupied with the threat of U.S. military action in Syria and the fallout from Washingtons new sanctions, did not react to the draft legislation.

It is to be discussed in the lower house next week.

TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL

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