USA Removing Russia from Trade Benefits Program

Reuters reports  President Barack Obama gave the U.S. Congress official notice that he plans to pull Russia from a program that allows duty-free imports of certain goods, known as the Generalized System of Preferences.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Russia was set to be eliminated from the program on Jan. 1, 2016, after being upgraded to high-income status by the World Bank last year, but Obama decided to move forward ahead of schedule. Russia is “sufficiently advanced economically” and no longer needs the special treatment, the White House said. Russia would have become ineligible for the program in 2016 because the World Bank had designated it as a “high-income” country, the White House said.

In 2012, the United States imported $544 million in goods from Russia under the GSP program, representing about 2 percent of its total imports from the country.

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