British Exports Continue Dodging Russia Sanctions

Capitalism may be a tremendous engine for getting things done, but governments who count on controlling or directing it are playing with fire.

So it continues to go with the anti-Russian export controls. Last month, we saw how countries like Kazakhstan became overnight export powerhouses, if you believe the official figures at least, with a 76% jump in their heavy machinery exports to Russia.

Obviously this is all a business of on-selling. The same is happening with Russia’s own exports, which are going through the Stans and on to places like Dubai.

A tremendous example of this unscrupulousness arose recently in the UK. The figures show that Central Asia has suddenly become a top destination for British luxury cars.

The average price tag of British cars shipped to Azerbaijan is over £100k per car. The three-month average for total sales is over £40 million!

Figures from the port of Bristol showed a major shift in their shipping destinations. Exports to Azerbaijan went from near nothing to hundreds of millions of pounds per year.

The UK House of Commons Foreign Committee held hearings on the matter. Minister of State for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, commented, in very Tory fashion, that “if indeed” it is the case that there are diversionary shipping activities going on, those vendors will need to “consider their position”.

Trevelyan also suggested that diplomatic matters are delicate with Central Asia. She argued these countries have been “incredibly forward-leaning” in supporting the sanctions regime against Russia. 

Someone was clearly making the right noises in their delegations to London, but following the money tells an entirely different story. And that is going to keep hurting Ukraine as the war of attrition grinds on.

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