U.S. Restores Trade Benefit to Ukraine

The Trump administration restored a small trade benefit to Ukraine late Friday, two years after the benefits were revoked on grounds that the country wasn’t protecting U.S. intellectual property rights, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The U.S. said it was partially restoring Ukraine’s access to a program called the Generalized System of Preferences, which was created in the 1970s to aid over 100 different poor countries by granting them duty-free treatment on a selection of thousands of goods, from vehicle parts to jewelry.

The move was part of a series of decisions about GSP. The U.S. said it would revoke benefits for Thailand, and was putting benefits for South Africa and Azerbaijan under review.

The program, which pertains to a very small share of U.S.-Ukraine trade, was the subject of a Washington Post story this week, which alleged the benefits hadn’t been restored as part of a White House campaign to pressure Ukraine. The Wall Street Journal wasn’t able to confirm that report.

Ukraine had some of its benefits under the program partially revoked in 2017, following a review process that began in 2012 under the Obama administration.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Friday that $12 million of Ukrainian trade would be restored to its duty-free status, after a law was recently passed in Ukraine that aims to better protect intellectual property.

“Despite shortcomings with this legislation, it provides a framework to address concerns covered by the GSP review,” the USTR said.

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