The Japanese lower house approved Thursday draft amendments for the country’s Customs legislation. These were intended to remove Russia from the Most-Favoured-Nation status. It also meant that there would be a temporary increase of import duties.
The house’s website broadcast the vote.
The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) most-favored-nation principle provides that all members have equal trade duties. A country losing its most-favored-nation status will result in a rise in the customs duties on its goods. The tariffs for Russian imports of crab meat, sea urchins and salmon will rise by 4% to 6%, 7 percent-10 percent, and 3.5 percent to 5%, respectively.
Japan’s tariffs on Russia’s exports of liquefied gas and coal will not be increased, since they were zero prior to Moscow being granted the most-favored country status.
The measures also tighten currency regulation, including on operations with cryptocurrency, to stop Moscow from evading the imposed sanctions.
The increase in duties is expected to take place by March 2023.
Russia launched a military campaign in Ukraine on February 24 after the rebel republics Donetsk & Luhansk requested help to defend themselves against Ukrainian forces. The European Union launched a comprehensive campaign of sanctions against Moscow. This included airspace closures and restrictions targeting many Russian officials, media, and financial institutions.
Japan sanctioned 499 Russians, including high-ranking officials and businesspersons, nine bank branches, and around 40 organizations. 130 Russian entities were also banned from exporting semiconductors, lasers and software. Japan also prohibited Russia from exporting luxury goods.
In 2021, Russia received USD 7.5 billion from Japan in exports. Preliminary estimates suggest that Japan could reduce Russia’s most-favored-nation status to increase its tax revenues by USD 29.7 millions per year.