The losses of Russian companies from the introduction of duties on imported steel and aluminum by the US may amount to about $3 billion, Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Viktor Evtukhov stated on the Rossiya 24 TV channel.
"As for the losses to our businesses, our companies, according to preliminary estimates, it is at least $2 billion in steel and $1 billion in aluminum," Evtukhov said.
According to him, the high level of losses is explained, in particular, by the fact that Russian metallurgical companies have invested in steel and aluminum production directly in the USA, and these companies use Russian raw materials.
Evtukhov also said there is a threat to Russian metallurgists from the possibility of "aberrant redistribution of commodity flows" after the closure of the US market, as well as the introduction of other measures to protect their own markets.
"At the same time, it should be understood that there is already a considerable number of trade barriers with regard to products from our country, impeding access to markets," Deputy Minister said.
He explained that for the North American subsidiaries of Russian metallurgical companies, the effect of imposing duties may be positive, as closing the US market for foreigners will increase the value of their products.
Evtukhov also added that the Russian Ministry of Trade and Industry, together with the Ministry of Economic Development, will dispute the decision of the United States at the World Trade Organization (WTO), explaining that the lawsuit by the Russians can also be supported by Chinese and South Korean manufacturers.
"One must look at the response measures, and all countries will follow this path," Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade said.
US President Donald Trump signed an order on March 9th imposing import duties on steel and aluminum from all countries except Canada and Mexico. Unified duties on the import of steel became 25%, and on aluminum 10%. Earlier the US Department of Commerce has come to the conclusion that import of steel and aluminum "threatens the national security" of the country.
On March 22nd, it was announced that US authorities decided to suspend the introduction of duties on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and South Korea.
On March 23, the WTO Trade Council met to discuss an agenda which included the issue of new US duties on imports of steel and aluminum at the request of Russia and China. According to Reuters report, the European Union, Brazil, Japan, Australia, and other countries are participating in the discussion. The Council members expressed their disagreement with the fact that the United States justified the introduction of duties as a national security measure.