Gov't to lobby US for changes to Rusal sanctions

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague says the Government intends to lobby the United States to effect changes to the sanctions of Russia aluminium giant UC Rusal, such that the Jamaican economy is not negatively impacted.

Montague, who was speaking in House of Representatives today, said that his ministry is fully mobilised and is monitoring the developments relating to the sanctions.

The minister disclosed that he has met with UC Rusal's country manager to convey the position of the Government, which, he said, was primarily to protect the workers and contractors, the environment, and the economy, and for the manager to inform of his company's plans for WINDALCO.

According to Montague, UC Rusal indicated it's intentions to continue to operate in Jamaica as normal.

Yesterday, the US Treasury Department said it would give UC Rusal customer's more time to comply with the sanctions imposed earlier this month and that it could lift them if UC Rusal's president Oleg Deripaska gave up his controlling stake in the company.

Deripaska and UC Rusal are among 24 prominent Russians and 14 entities hit with sanctions on April 6 for what the department described as "malign activity around the globe", which includes meddling in the 2016 US election.

Montague said his ministry's analysis indicated that normal operations will become increasingly difficult, especially if the company refuses to conform with the sanctions and various suppliers of goods and services elect to refuse its business out of fear of secondary sanctions from the USA.

The minister further noted that WINDALCO's Ewarton refinery faces the possibility of significant disruption in production given the pending difficulty and increased cost to source and import raw materials, especially flocculants, caustic soda, fuel and spare parts.

“However, it (WINDALCO) has indicated that it will, if necessary, import these products from Russia and other places,” said Montague.

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