26 Oct 2017 10:30

Federation Council wants to consider possible consequences of aerospace sanctions on U.S

MOSCOW. Oct 26 (Interfax) - The Federation Council in principle supports the bill being prepared by the State Duma to limit cooperation with the United States in space and Russian titanium exports to Western companies but wants to analyze the possible consequences first, the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee, Andrei Klimov, told the newspaper Izvestia.

"Of course, we support the State Duma's bill on the whole but think that the matter should be given profound consideration. Our response to the unfriendly moves of the U.S. should be systematic. The bill on which the parliament's lower house is working ensures this kind of systematic approach," Klimov told the newspaper.

The bill "has a precise focus and gives a mirrored and crystal-clear response," he said.

"It is totally clear why this bill is being prepared and what measures it will put into place. We have an extremely broad range of tools to respond to U.S. actions, but we should thoroughly consider and analyze everything so that, God forbid, the bill does not backfire on us. The U.S. is buying diverse products from us, including titanium. Our compatriots are employed in this industry, and we cannot sever the contacts we need," Klimov said.

"There are many areas where contacts with the U.S. are mutually advantageous, but there are others where Russia can take countermeasures," he said.

According to Izvestia, the bill is still being prepared and has not been discussed with the business community in detail. A senior source in the Industry and Trade Ministry told the newspaper that "any countermeasures in the field of cooperation with international companies should be scrutinized."

"Russian factories seek a partnership with global leaders. This is not just about the economy, but also the country's image and our industry as a whole, which is proving its worth on high-tech markets in spite of the sanctions," the source told the newspaper.

"VSMPO-AVISMA is exporting titanium products to 48 countries and has 350 clients worldwide," he said.

"Its clients include the world's biggest engine and aircraft companies, and not just those of the U.S. It works with Boeing, EADS, Embraer, UTAS, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, Rolls-Royce, Safran, Airbus, and Pratt & Whitney. By the way, the majority of titanium products for the advanced Boeing 787 Dreamliner was designed and manufactured in Russia," the source said.

Nikolai Ivanov, a State Duma deputy and Communist Party member, proposed last week that counter-sanctions be imposed on the U.S. and the agreement to supply Russian RD-180 engines to the U.S. be canceled.

"Russia is also selling rare-earth metals, above all titanium, to the U.S.," Ivanov said. "It takes 20 to 50 tonnes of titanium to build one Boeing aircraft, and we are selling it as raw material. Let's pass a law to prohibit us from selling titanium as raw material and allow selling finished products only. Then, the 'hawks' will think about whether relations with Russia should be severed," Ivanov said.

"A total of 1.4 million passenger planes flew over our territory from the west last year," Ivanov said. "If we suspend those flights just for three months, American companies will incur sizable losses of $1.5 billion," he said.

"Should we take all these measures, we will give the U.S. and the West a choice between lifting the anti-Russian sanctions and recognizing Crimea's unification with Russia as fair and lawful, on the one hand, or suffering even bigger economic losses, on the other," Ivanov said.