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Russia Leads World in Trade Restrictions Against EU

Roman Pimenov / TASS

Russia has imposed more trade barriers against the European Union than any other country in the world, according to the bloc’s annual report.

The EU remains Russia’s largest trading partner despite economic sanctions and retaliatory measures against Russia after its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Russia overtook Switzerland last year as the third main source of imports for the European bloc.

The European Commission’s annual report on trade barriers said Wednesday that Russia had 36 barriers against the EU, and China a close second with 25 trade barriers.

The six new restrictions imposed by Russia in 2017 include tax discrimination against imported wines and a requirement that only allows Russian-flagged vessels to cross the Arctic coast to transport hydrocarbons and coal.

In a rare visit to Western Europe earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin said he had no political interest in dividing the EU, and called the bloc “our most important trading and economic partner.” 

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