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U.S. Cuts Russia From Trade Benefits Program

The U.S. has cut Russia out of a trade program that allows developing countries to pay zero or reduced tariffs on the import of up to 5,000 products, the White House announced late last week.

In 2013 Russia imported goods worth nearly $300 million under the program, known as the Generalized System of Preferences, or GSP, according to the website of the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Russian firms must now pay higher, non-preferential rates for goods that previously qualified for the program.

U.S. President Barack Obama told Congress in May that Russia would be stricken from the list, saying that Russia had "sufficiently advanced in economic development" and should no longer qualify for a program meant for developing countries.

Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said that the measure was "not directly tied" to Russia's actions in Ukraine but that, give the political climate, it was "particularly appropriate to take this step now."

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