By Guy Page
Vermont consumers, government and businesses will be affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at least by inflation. And – at least in the matter of Russian liquor – Vermont has responded, as well.
Russia is a significant player among the nations exporting goods to Vermont. The Green Mountain State imports $33 million of goods from Russia annually, according to a 2020 U.S. Census data, making Russia its 11th-biggest exporter. Canada, China, Taiwan, Germany and Mexico rank 1-5 among exporters to Vermont.
100% of Vermont’s natural gas comes from Canada. Most of our oil and refined products (gasoline, diesel, heating fuel) also come from Canada, with a lesser amount from coming Texas, Matt Cota, president of the Vermont Fuel Dealers, said today.
However, oil is a global commodity and the price is impacted by wars overseas. Every 10 dollars that the price of a barrel of crude oil rises, the cost at the pump jumps about 25 cents.
If the U.S. were to pump more oil, that would lower prices, Cota said.
In particular, Russia is Vermont’s #1 source of rubber and rubber-made articles ($15.7 million: source – Stacker.com). That’s about 60% of the state’s total rubber and rubber products imports. Vermont business consumers of rubber and rubber products include Sleeping Well in Shelburne, Accurate Rubber Products in Swanton, Advanced Flexible Composites in Bennington, Blue Hubbard Slickers in Johnson, Knox Mountain Bags in Barre, Javfit in Vergennes, and MGarware Fulflex USA in Brattleboro [source: Dun & Bradstreet].
“Today I directed the Commissioner of Liquor and Lottery to remove Russian-owned products from state agent store shelves and cease purchasing new stock from Russian-owned distilleries until further notice.
“Later this week, I will issue an executive order detailing further action and state sanctions Vermont will pursue to respond to the illegal and heinous Putin invasion of Ukraine.
“There are few things individual states can do alone, but I am heartened by the overwhelming and united response from the Free World in support of the people of Ukraine. Vermonters are inspired by the bravery, courage, and sacrifice of those who seek nothing more than the freedom to determine their own futures. The Ukrainian people are fighting for the same values we believe in, and we must come together to support them.”
Despite their market cache, Russian liquor products aren’t a major source of export revenue. It owns just 7% of the global market share, behind both France and Sweden [source: RBTH.com]. Swearing off Stolichniya may be a solidarity-inspired hardship for some, but the fear of an incremental reduction in $128 million annual exports isn’t keeping Putin up at night.
In contrast to the $33 million in imports, Vermont exports less than $5 million to Russia – according to admittedly dated stats (2017) from the U.S. Federal Reserve, published this year.