The 1930s tariffs were crafted to charge high levies on imports of manufactured goods and farm products but low rates on imports of raw materials â€” a design that would limit costs for U.S. factories, Mr. Gresser wrote in a blog post. Much of what Russia sends the United States is energy products and other minerals.
The U.S. tariff on palladium, for example, which is used in catalytic converters, would remain at 0 percent after the change, according to Mr. Gresserâ€™s research. Tariffs on other significant exports from Russia, like king crab, uranium and urea, which is used in fertilizer, would also remain at 0 percent.
Tariffs would be somewhat higher for other products, like unwrought aluminum alloy, birch-faced plywood, bullets and certain steel products.
Energy imports from Russia â€” which accounted for about 60 percent of what the United States imported from the country last year â€” would face slightly higher tariffs. But Mr. Biden already announced this week that the United States would stop all shipments of Russian oil, gas and coal, a far more sweeping measure.
Mr. Gresser wrote that revoking Russiaâ€™s preferential trading status would impose some penalties, â€œbut in most cases not very significant ones.â€
â€œIt may nonetheless be an appropriate symbolic and moral gesture, in particular if many W.T.O. members join in it,â€ he wrote. â€œBut as a policy measure meant specifically to impose economic cost, the energy import ban is the one with practical real-world impact.â€
Russia or another country, such as China, could challenge the decision to strip Russia of its trade status by bringing a case against the United States, the European Union or other countries at the World Trade Organization. But the global trade body offers large exceptions for actions taken to protect national security, and the United States and Europe could cite that rationale in their defense.
Reporting was contributed by Catie Edmondson, Katie Rogers, Alan Rappeport and Liz Alderman.