Protectionist policies also hurt the countries that impose them – Russia’s Finance Minister to On Events

Protectionist policies and sanctions hurt not only the countries they target, but the global market as a whole, ultimately hampering the economic growth of the states that implement them, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said.

The official gave On Events an exclusive interview following the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meeting in Washington. The protectionist policies implemented by “certain states” were criticized during the gathering of IMF leaders, who expressed their dissatisfaction with the current state of the global economy and its leadership, according to the Russian minister.

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“Yesterday, we had a session on world economics. Recently, we’ve been hearing more and more voices [about] the protectionist policies conducted by certain countries. The majority of our colleagues, finance ministers who spoke during the session, were talking about the need to stop the introduction of any restriction, both tariff and non-tariff, [and the] cessation of protectionist practices over certain goods,” Siluanov said, warning about the grave consequences such policies bear for those that pursue them.

The discussion was held in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s recent move to introduce 25 percent import tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum, and of Washington’s economic confrontation with Beijing, in which China has promised a tit-for-tat, mirror response to any US move.

“I stress that such policies do not stimulate an economy’s growth rates. We believe that any restrictions, which seemingly are designed to support one’s own economy, lead, in fact, to new disproportions, and to the slowing down of economic growth.”

The minister also shed light on proposed government measures to support Russian companies affected by the latest batch of US sanctions and new steel and aluminum tariffs. The support will not be solely financial, helping the workers of the affected companies is also a priority. Moscow will also seek to help the companies to reach “new markets,” Siluanov said, without giving any details.

READ MORE: Russia & China dumping US treasuries

“We always stress that sanctions have a negative effect on an economy, not only on the Russian one, but of Russia’s partners as well. The sanctions, especially the most recent ones which were imposed on public companies working in global markets, will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the consumers of Russian companies’ products,” the official stressed.

The recent US actions have already caused a spike in aluminum prices, which have surged almost 30 percent, reaching their highest level in seven years. Siluanov commented on media reports that some German companies were urging Washington to ease up on its grip on the affected Russian companies, namely aluminum giant Rusal, and expressed the hope that they would succeed in their endeavor. “Economic, not political” thinking must eventually prevail in international economic relations, he stated.

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