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Reuters: Canada allows Airbus to use Russian titanium to circumvent sanctions

Despite Canadian sanctions on Russia’s VSMPO-Avisma Corporation, the world’s largest titanium producer, the Canadian government has granted Airbus permission to continue using Russian titanium in its aircraft production.
Airbus. Credit: transportenvironment.org
Reuters: Canada allows Airbus to use Russian titanium to circumvent sanctions

The Canadian government has permitted Airbus to use titanium from Russia in its aircraft production, despite sanctions, Reuters reported, citing the company’s statement.

VSMPO-Avisma Corporation is the world’s largest titanium producer. It came under Canadian sanctions in February 2024.

“Airbus is aware of the Canadian government imposing sanctions on VSMPO and has obtained the necessary authorisation to secure Airbus operations in compliance with the applicable sanctions,” Airbus Canada said, according to Reuters.

Reuters reports that in March, clarifications were published that could be interpreted as potentially restricting aircraft assembled in third, predominantly Canada-allied countries from using Russian titanium.

Airbus has repeatedly argued that titanium exports generate limited revenue for the Russian budget, while restrictions would severely impact Western aircraft manufacturers.

However, Reuters points out that “such a sanctions exemption could put Justin Trudeau’s government in an awkward position” due to the numerous, influential, and politically active Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, whose opinion matters to the Canadian prime minister.

The Canadian government reportedly has not commented on this yet.

In March 2022, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Airbus announced it would stop purchasing Russian titanium, stating that it had sufficient supplies and alternative suppliers. In December 2022, Airbus said it was going to phase out Russian titanium within a few months but has not yet done so.

According to Investigate Europe, Airbus imported almost $23 million worth of titanium from Russia from March 2022 to March 2023, which is four times more than in the previous period.

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