Arkansas governor seeks review for any state Russia ties
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told agencies to review whether the state has any business contracts with Russia as he condemned its war with Ukraine.
Hutchinson on Monday night announced he had sent a letter to his 15 Cabinet secretaries calling for a review of the state’s departments to see if any contracts or agreements exist between Arkansas, Russia or other Russian entities.
“Although Arkansas’s economic ties with Russia are limited, I want to make sure that we as a state are not indirectly supporting Russian aggression through its economy,” Hutchinson said in a statement.
Hutchinson on Tuesday said the state’s liquor distributors agreed to not acquire any additional Russian-based alcohol.
The moves come as governors and lawmakers in other states are taking moves to pull state investments from Russian companies while encouraging private entities to do the same. Hutchinson said the state’s public employee and teachers retirement funds have found no direct investments in Russian assets.
The Arkansas House and Senate on Tuesday passed resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Proposals filed in Arkansas would authorize banks to freeze the assets of Russian oligarchs in the state and to require the boycott of Russian-made goods.
Hutchinson’s office said the state economic development commission has reported there are no Russian-owned or Ukrainian-owned companies in Arkansas. The state’s imports from Russian last year totaled $8.1 million and exports totaled $64 million. That same year, Arkansas imports from Ukraine totaled $2 million and exports totaled more than $450,000.