France will propose a new round of sanctions to the European Commission to expel Russia from the World Trade Organization and sanction relatives of President Vladimir Putin, finance minister Bruno Le Maire confirmed on Monday.  

“We are going to send the names of several dozen additional names of Vladimir Putin’s relatives to the European Commission so that they are placed under sanctions,” he told LCI news in an interview on the morning show. 

He explained these individuals have been identified by the French financial intelligence services as they have assets in the country. The European Union has already sanctioned several Russian and Belarusian personalities who are close to the Kremlin and seized their financial assets, yachts, jets, properties in Europe. 

Paris will also propose suspension from the WTO and increase customs duties on all goods to cripple the Russian economy and trade, Le Maire said. The new round of sanctions to be jointly decided by the EU and the G7 will weaken the Russian economy and contract GDP, he added. 

The minister’s announcement comes in the wake of a new phone exchange on March 12 between President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with Putin, which once again failed to achieve a cease-fire. 

“Putin showed no desire to stop the war,” the officials from the Presidency office told BFMTV news, and indicated new sanctions would be announced that will increase the cost of the war on Moscow. 

There is no specific provision for the suspension of a member country from the multilateral trading system. However, Article X of the WTO Agreement provides for amendments “which would alter the rights and obligations of the Members” “upon acceptance by two-thirds” of the WTO’s 164 members. 

If the WTO were to accept a proposal to restrict Moscow’s rights and benefits of WTO membership, it would allow member countries to hike tariffs on Russian imports or suspend certain products, outside the limits set by the WTO. Russia joined the WTO in 2012, becoming its 156th member country.

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