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The European Union said new sanctions on Russia will include leather goods, clothing, perfume, precious stones including non-industrial diamonds, watches and artworks in a toughening of sanctions similar to North Korea and Syria.
The fourth package of sanctions includes 22 luxury goods categories valued at €3.53 billion, which is likely to impact the luxury industry, according to a legislation published in the Official Journal of the European Union on Tuesday. It applies to luxury goods whose value exceeds €300 per item unless otherwise specified.
“We’re trying to target the wealthy elite, the oligarchs. We only want to target those products above a certain threshold so that we do not hit ordinary Russians,“ a EU official said during a press briefing Tuesday morning. There will be no import bans on luxury goods from Russia at this stage.
Luxury has not been included in the first three sanction packages but transactions became difficult after the Swift measure. Luxury groups including LVMH, Kering, Richemont and Hermès have already closed their stores in Russia. Today’s regulation marks a new step. “In regards to the sanctions announced today by the European Commission, we fully trust the Italian and European institutions and are completely aligned with the decisions that they are taking. As Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana we will implement the sanctions as far as they concern the fashion business,” said Carlo Capasa, chairman of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana.
The UK government meanwhile said its export ban will likely affect luxury vehicles, high-end fashion and art, while new import tariffs will be placed on silver, copper, fur skins and artificial fur. “Our new tariffs will further isolate the Russian economy from global trade, ensuring it does not benefit from the rules-based international system it does not respect,” chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak said in a statement. The UK Government placed a 35 per cent import tariff on key products such as Russian vodka, as part of the new round of sanctions. “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.” It follows asset freezes and travel bans on seven leading oligarchs and 386 members of the Russian Duma.
Helen Brocklebank, CEO of Walpole, the UK luxury industry trade group, said in an emailed statement: “We are fully supportive of the economic sanctions being imposed on Russia by the UK and its allies. All of our members have immediately complied with the sanctions imposed and are working to support local employees in any way they can.”
The G7 agreed to tougher sanctions including luxury on Friday and President Biden announced a list of banned luxury products including watches, cars, apparel and jewellery.
Update: Updated to include comment from the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. (15 March 2022)
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