President Obama formally notified Congress in early May 2014 that Russia will be removed from the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefits program, which allows for duty-free imports for certain goods. This action is effective once the President issues a proclamation formally withdrawing Russia's eligibility, White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. No date for the proclamation has been set.
The White House stated Russia is "sufficiently advanced economically" and no longer requires the GSP program's special treatment. Russia was the ninth-largest beneficiary nation under the program in 2013 according to the U.S. Trade Representative with nearly $296 million in U.S. imports from Russia eligible for the trade benefits through last July.
Caitlyn Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said that "Russia's actions regarding Ukraine, while not directly related to the President's decision regarding Russia's eligibility for GSP benefits, make it appropriate to take this step now."