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U.S. House panel postpones sanctions hearing, cites scheduling changes

Kitco News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House Financial Services committee has postponed a hearing planned for Tuesday on the use of U.S. sanctions against North Korea, Iran, Russia and Venezuela, according to a statement late on Monday.

Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters said in the statement the hearing would be held at a future date but gave no other details. The delay was “due to scheduling changes in the House of Representatives,” the panel said in a notice dated Sunday.

The Russian rouble, which was also buoyed by higher oil prices, climbed on Tuesday following the posting to the U.S. House of Representatives’ website regarding the delay.

Representatives for the Democratic-controlled panel early on Tuesday pointed to the statement but had no other comment.

The hearing, entitled, “The Use of Sanctions and Economic Statecraft in Addressing U.S. National Security and Foreign Policy Challenges,” was set to examine the efficiency of major U.S. sanctions programs.

In particular, lawmakers aimed to review the Republican Trump administration’s actions toward Moscow, including the U.S. Department of Treasury’s recent ones regarding several Russian companies owned and controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

U.S. sanctions were ordered against aluminum giant Rusal and parent company En+ last year, given Deripaska’s influence over the firms, before the billionaire agreed in late 2018 to reduce his stake.

Deripaska and the largest companies in his portfolio were put on the U.S. Treasury sanctions blacklist in April for what Washington said at the time was profiting from their association with a Kremlin conducting “malign activities” around the globe.

Washington lifted the sanctions against the companies in January, although they still apply to Deripaska.

The United States has also imposed sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program,

The Trump administration withdrew the United States from a 2015 international deal with Iran that had lifted sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran’s weapons program, and moved to reinstate sanctions.

It also imposed sanctions on Venezuela in an effort to squeeze President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Bernadette Baum

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