UK bans £900m worth of luxury goods exports to Russia

High-end fashion, premium cars and works of art all to be encompassed by trade moratorium

British luxury fashion brand Burberry had already suspended its Russian operations. Photo: Burberry

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The UK government on Tuesday announced a ban on exporting luxury goods to Russia and imposed new tariffs on Russian imports, in its latest wave of sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Luxury goods such as high-end fashion, prestige vehicles and works of art will face an import tariff increase of 35 percentage points, Britain’s Department for International Trade said in a joint statement with the Treasury.

The value of the goods targeted is £900 million ($1.2 billion) and the ban will come in "shortly", it said..

Before the ban, several prominent western brands had already suspended their Russian operations or seceded from the country all together. They include the British carmakers Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin, and luxury fashion label Burberry.

The luxury sector is not inured from the depressive economic impact of Russia's Ukraine invasion, a reality exemplified by Burberry's share price which has fallen 16 per cent since the war began on February 24.

“Our new [import] tariffs will further isolate the Russian economy from global trade,” UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said.

“These tariffs build on the UK's existing work to starve Russia’s access to international finance, sanction Putin’s cronies and exert maximum economic pressure on his regime.”

Breaking down the ban, embargoed exports will include iron, steel, fertilisers, wood, tyres, railway containers, cement, copper, aluminium, silver, lead, iron ore, residue/food waste products, beverages, spirits and vinegar glass and glassware, cereals, oilseeds, paper and paperboard, machinery, works of art, antiques, fur skins and artificial fur, ships and white fish.

The European Union is set to impose a similar ban, and the UK is scheduled to announce sanctions on more Russian individuals and entities later on Tuesday.

Britain has already sanctioned a series of high-profile Russian tycoons, including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, in response to the war in Ukraine, and is phasing out Russian oil imports. It has also fast-tracked legislation to allow it swiftly to impose sanctions on individuals already targeted by the US and EU.

Updated: March 15, 2022, 12:23 PM