European envoys to the US backed plans to drop the sanctions against Rusal and En+, linked to Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, reports say. It would save thousands of jobs and curb “serious damage” to the aluminum industry.
The ambassadors of Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK as well as the head of the EU mission in the US addressed the American lawmakers, calling on them to push forward the potential lift of Washington’s penalties against the companies.
The diplomats believe some 75,000 workers will have means of existence and Europe aluminum industry will be kept afloat, according to their letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel obtained by media, including Bloomberg and Tass, late on Friday.
“By preventing serious damage to the European aluminum industry, the de-listing will help preserve existing supply chains which would otherwise likely be rerouted to China, further strengthening its global market position in the industry,” the envoys reportedly wrote on January 4.
Washington introduced the sanctions in April 2018, targeting Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska among others, and companies in which he owns stakes, including Russian aluminum giant Rusal and En+ Group. After the tycoon reduced his stake in the companies, the Trump administration proposed to remove the measures in December.
The envoys also said that since the sanctions were imposed, the alumina and aluminum enterprises in their home countries faced price hikes and difficulties in their business activities.
On Friday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin briefed the lawmakers on his department’s bid to lift the restrictions as House Democrats expressed concern about it.
“They [En+, Rusal, and ESE] have committed to provide Treasury with an unprecedented level of transparency into their dealings to ensure that Deripaska does not reassert control. As a result, these entities will no longer be designated for sanctions,” Mnuchin said before the closed meeting. However, the Democrats have apparently remained unconvinced, and the US Treasury will possibly delay the move which was initially set to be introduced next week.
European companies have previously warned that bite of anti-Russian sanctions would affect them. For example, German-based firms told RT that they fear disruptions “worth hundreds of millions of euros” and production losses because of US embargo.
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