Lavrov says US-Russia trade INCREASED to $27bn under Trump – all despite sanctions he intends to keep

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Trade between the US and Russia has increased during the Donald Trump administration in spite of the sanctions levied on Moscow, the Russian FM has revealed. Washington sees it as an excuse to keep the sanctions in place, though.

“Regardless of the sanctions – which obviously hurt everyone – the trade between our two countries has grown during the Trump presidency from $20 billion, to which it was reduced under President Obama, to $27 billion this year,” Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, told reporters in Washington, DC on Tuesday, after meeting with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

“This is an increase of almost one third, and means new jobs in both countries and an increase in the profits of producers. I think that if we give additional incentives to such cooperation, the results will be even more mutually beneficial,” Lavrov added.

While the Russian diplomat framed the trade numbers as an argument against the US blockade, Pompeo reiterated his government’s commitment to keeping it in place. Asked what the conditions for lifting the sanctions would be, the secretary of state declined to answer, adding only that the Trump administration regarded the sanctions as “appropriate given US policy, US law and risks that are presented.”

He did, however, mention possible “significant progress” in the economic relationship between Washington and Moscow that could be announced in the “next short period of time,” without offering any details.