Mr. Gresser said the Smoot-Hawley tariffs of the 1930s were designed to impose high tariffs on imports of manufactured goods and agricultural products but low tariffs on imports of commodities in order to contain costs for US factories. As a major energy and minerals producer, much of what Russia sends to the United States falls into these categories.
For example, US tariffs on palladium, which is used in catalytic converters, would remain at 0 percent both before and after the change, according to Gresser research. Tariffs on other major exports from Russia, such as king crab, uranium and urea, which is used in fertilizers, would also remain at 0 percent.
For other products, the tariffs would be a little higher, such as B. unmachined aluminum alloys, birch faced plywood, bullets and certain steel products.
Energy imports from Russia — which accounted for about 60 percent of what the US imported from Russia last year — would face slightly higher tariffs. But Mr. Biden announced earlier this week that the United States would halt all shipments of Russian oil, gas and coal, a far broader measure.
Mr Gresser said lifting Russia’s preferential trade status would entail some penalties, “but not very significant ones in most cases”.
“It can still be an appropriate symbolic and moral gesture, especially when many WTO members participate,” he wrote. “But as a policy measure designed specifically to impose economic costs, the energy import ban is the one with practical real-world implications.”
Other governments could challenge these moves by filing suits against the United States, the European Union, or other countries at the WTO. However, the global trade organization offers broad exceptions to measures to protect national security, and the United States and Europe could invoke their defense.
Catie Edmondson, Katie Rogers, Alan Rappeport and Liz Alderman contributed coverage.