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US cuts tariff benefits for Thailand in pork dispute

[WASHINGTON] Washington will eliminate some tariff benefits for Thailand, saying the country has failed to allow imports of pork from US producers, the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced on Friday.

The move suspends duty-free access for US$817 million in goods starting December 30 due to the "lack of sufficient progress providing the United States with equitable and reasonable market access for pork products," despite 12 years of discussions, USTR said in a statement.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the decision "demonstrates the Trump Administration's commitment to robust monitoring and enforcement of our trade preference programmes."

That amount represents about one-sixth of Thailand's benefits under a program called the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), the statement said.

Products affected including mango, pineapple, manicure kits, steel pipes and precious stones.

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The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) filed a petition in 2018 asking US officials to take action against Thailand.

The GSP allow duty-free entry into the US market for 3,500 products from 119 countries, which in exchange must take steps to protect worker rights, protect intellectual property rights, and assuring "equitable and reasonable access to its markets."


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