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U.S, ends some benefits for Argentina, India, others

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration said on Tuesday it would no longer allow some imports from Argentina, India, Thailand, Ukraine, Indonesia and Turkey to receive duty-free treatment under a U.S. trade program.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it was ending the benefits because the countries no longer needed special treatment for those products to compete in the U.S. market.

Altogether, 12 products from the six countries were affected, the largest being nearly $773 million of animal and vegetable fat imports from Argentina.

USTR also ended duty-free treatment for about $145 million worth of drugs, $142 million of silver jewelry and smaller amounts of four other products from India.

Another big-ticket item was imports of $167 million of polyethylene terephthalate (PET resin) from Indonesia.

Other products hit by the decision were mackerel from Thailand, certain rare gases and train parts from Ukraine and chromium trioxide from Turkey.

The United States provides duty-free access for nearly 5,000 types of products from 131 developing countries under the Generalized System of Preferences program.

USTR also said at the request of Egypt it was adding uncooked potatoes and frozen spinach to the list of goods that receive duty-free treatment.