Trade

Trump Also Used His Trade War On Ukraine

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime suspended Ukraine's privileged trade status in May of 2018 and it has not been fully restored to this day for reasons that now seem dubious at best.

Ukraine's privileged trade status would have been restored earlier this year, but the Washington Post first reported yesterday evening that Ukraine's status got caught up in Trump's quest to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce that he's investigating the Bidens.

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly delivered a warning from the White House to Trump's trade representative Robert Lighthizer that Trump would not approve a full restoration of Ukraine's privileged trade status at a time when he was also withholding military aid.

The August exchange between Bolton and Lighthizer over the trade matter represents the first indication that the administration’s suspension of assistance to Ukraine extended beyond the congressionally authorized military aid and security assistance to other government programs. [...]

In early October, nearly two months after withdrawing the initial effort to restore Ukraine’s trade privileges, Lighthizer sent the necessary paperwork to the White House for a second time. He later withdrew it again, on Oct. 17, amid an intensifying storm over the president’s policy toward Ukraine.

The administration now plans to include the restoration of some of Ukraine’s suspended privileges in a package of trade measures slated for release this month, a person briefed on the planning said.

The Trump regime originally announced that Ukraine's privileged trade status -- allowing them to export goods to the United States without paying tariffs -- would be suspended in late 2017 because the country allegedly did not do enough to fight intellectual property theft.

Coming from any other administration that wouldn't necessarily raise an eyebrow, but coming from the Trump White House, and considering everything we know about Trump's special relationship with the Russians who invaded Ukraine -- I think it would be quite gullible to automatically assume that all of this is on the level.

Sources who spoke to the Washington Post say Trump would like to eliminate the entire system of preferences that allows developing economies to export to the United States duty free, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Ukraine was not a special case.

Everything we know tells us Trump was determined to make Ukraine an offer they couldn't refuse and it looks like this was just another part of that.

  • muselet

    Sources who spoke to the Washington Post say Trump would like to eliminate the entire system of preferences that allows developing economies to export to the United States duty free, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Ukraine was not a special case.

    Trump seems to have a soft spot for mercantilism, which fell out of favor about the time the United States was coming into existence. Somehow it figures he’d embrace an outdated economic philosophy—the protectionist bit, especially—since all his positions seem to be based on his poor understanding of discarded ideas.

    Former National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly delivered a warning from the White House to Trump’s trade representative Robert Lighthizer that Trump would not approve a full restoration of Ukraine’s privileged trade status at a time when he was also withholding military aid.

    Donald Trump behaves at all times and in all circumstances like a small-time mob boss. Keep that in mind and everything sorta kinda makes sense. He wanted something from Ukraine, so he squeezed the government.

    I’m not sure the Gambino family is the proper model for national governance.

    –alopecia