Russian companies banned from using UK services providers in latest Ukraine war sanctions

Thu 5 May 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

The UK government has announced a ban on services exports to Russia, including accountancy, management consultancy and PR services.

Russia is heavily reliant on Western services companies for the production and export of manufactured goods, and these services account for 10% of Russian imports in these sectors.

Announcing the latest sanctions, foreign secretary Liz Truss said: “Doing business with Putin’s regime is morally bankrupt and helps fund a war machine that is causing untold suffering across Ukraine. Cutting Russia’s access to British services will put more pressure on the Kremlin and ultimately help ensure Putin fails in Ukraine.”

Trolls targeted

Truss has also announced 63 new sanctions aimed at those enabling Kremlin troll factories, including actors and organisations from mainstream media organisations who face asset freezes and travel bans.

New legislation also means social media, internet services and app store companies must take action to block content from two of Russia’s major sources of disinformation, RT and Sputnik, which are blocked in the UK.

According to the BBC, the sanctions do not yet cover the whole of the UK service sector, including lawyers and estate agents “which have, in the past, helped smooth the path of Russian money and influence into the UK”.

UK officials insist more restrictions on the service sector are to come and similar curbs are also being agreed by the EU.

Trade alliance

Trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan convened a virtual trade ministers’ meeting yesterday to call on international allies and partners to work together to support Ukraine and help ensure its long-term security and prosperity.

There was a comprehensive exchange of views on key measures to support Ukraine’s trade, economy, and recovery.

Ideas and measures included logistical and financial support, reconstruction, improving market access and the liberalisation of tariffs, and support to Ukrainian businesses and trade associations.

Countries agreed to work cooperatively on further measures and to reconvene as soon as possible.

China stress tests

Meanwhile, China is reported by the Guardian to have assessed how it would be affected by Russian style sanctions.

A series of “stress tests” was ordered by Beijing according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Several key Chinese government agencies – from banking regulation to international trade – have been asked to come up with responses if the west imposed embargos on China.

Last month, officials from China’s finance ministry and the central bank held a meeting with domestic and foreign banks to discuss how they could protect China’s overseas assets should Russia-style sanctions be imposed, according to a recent report by the Financial Times.

China has been criticised for making little effort to distance itself from Russia following its aggression in Ukraine, prompting western nations to reassess their links with China, reports Politico.