Trump reinstates duty-free trade for some Ukrainian goods, suspends it for some Thai goods

U.S. President Donald Trump exits Air Force One after returning from South Carolina to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., October 25, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday reinstated duty-free trade for certain items from Ukraine, but suspended it with Thailand.

In a presidential proclamation, Trump said he had previously suspended duty-free treatment for certain Ukrainian goods because Ukraine was not adequately protecting intellectual property rights, but he was now lifting the suspension because the country had made progress on that front.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said the end to the suspension affected about a third of the $36 million in trade benefits that had originally been removed for Ukraine.

In a separate letter written to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the president of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump said he had suspended duty-free treatment of certain Thai products because the country had not taken steps to “afford workers in Thailand internationally recognized worker rights.”

The USTR’s office said the move amounted to a suspension of $1.3 billion in trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

The suspension, which goes into effect in six months, will affect about a third of Thailand’s products included in the trade program. Duty-free treatment will be revoked for all Thailand’s seafood exports to the United States over labor issues, the USTR’s office said.

The United States was also opening reviews of its duty-free treatment for certain products from South Africa over intellectual property issues and Azerbaijan over workers’ rights concerns, the USTR’s office said in a statement.

Separate reviews concerning goods from Bolivia, Iraq and Uzbekistan were closed without changes to their treatment, the USTR’s office said.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Daniel Wallis