Bolton-Lighthizer's trade exchange in August is the first indication that the suspension of government support for Ukraine went beyond Congress-sanctioned military aid and security support to other government programs. It is not clear if Trump has instructed Bolton to interfere with Ukraine's trading privileges, or if he was even aware of the discussion.
"It was withdrawn just before it went to POTUS 'desk," said a government official, referring to Ukraine's paperwork and with an acronym for the US president. "Bolton intervened with Lighthizer to block it."
On questions from the Washington Post, another government official announced that the President's proclamation on the trade status of Ukraine and two other nations had been maintained for several weeks in the office of US President The White House secretary of staff was part of a routine " country review process. "
A former US government official said the president wanted "complete elimination" of the global trade program in question. Known as the "Generalized Preferences System" or APS, it allows 1
20 countries to ship about 1.5 percent of total US imports without paying tariffs.
In March 2018, Trump signed a law that re-authorizes the program until 2020, and Lighthizer in. Negotiations have been ongoing with India over the recent weeks regarding the restoration of GSP status, which was suspended in March.
Bolton resigned on September 10, the day before the government released military aid under pressure from the legislature.
In early October, almost two months after Lighthizer had abandoned initial efforts to restore Ukraine's trading privileges, he sent the required documents to the White House for the second time. Later, on October 17, he withdrew it in a worsening storm over the President's policy towards Ukraine.
The government now plans to include the restoration of some of the suspended privileges of Ukraine in a package of trade measures to be released this month, said a planning person.
This report is based on interviews with 10 current and former government officials who discussed internal consultations on condition of anonymity. About a spokeswoman Bolton declined to comment. The White House declined to comment. Lighthizer's office did not respond to requests for comments.
Bolton's intervention came when the president told White House helpers that any help for Ukraine depends on Zelensky, who publicly stated that his government would investigate the role of Hunter Biden as board member of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, aloud Statement by US Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. this week
"The president does not want to help at all," said Tim Morrison, Russia's top National Security Council official. told him August 22nd.
Five days later Bolton arrived in Kiev for a meeting with Zelensky. And on September 1, Gordon Sondland, US ambassador to the European Union, who coordinated the government's Ukraine policy, told Taylor that "everything" depended on Zelensky's publicly declaring he was Joe Biden and the allegations of Ukrainian interference Investigating in the 2016 US elections Taylor shared the House's impeachment investigation on Tuesday.
Bolton did not share Trump's view that Ukraine could be a source of damaging political information, but he was familiar with weeks of back-and-forth administration and Kiev trusts in the military. Taylor said on Tuesday that Bolton was "so irritated" about a connection between "investigations" and a scheduled meeting between Trump and Zelensky that he closed a meeting of Ukrainian White House policy on July 10 and National employees Security Council there "that they should have nothing to do with domestic policy."
Bolton had also instructed the then head of Russian politics at the NSC, according to a copy of Taylor's opening statement, which was received by the Washington Post, "to teach the lawyers."
Bolton's warning about the trade privileges involved Lighthizer's recommendation to the White House that the president restore the Ukraine's ability to export some products back to the United States on a duty-free basis. About a third of Ukrainian benefits under the program were suspended in December 2017, as there has long been a concern that the country routinely violates US intellectual property rights.
This suspension came into force in May 2018. After the Ukrainian government took steps to remedy the situation The US criticism, such as the adoption of a law to improve the collection of copyright, has led to officials of the US Trade Representative Office (USTR) considering the country about a third regain its suspended duty-free privileges.
Throughout the summer, USTR officials turned to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a sector coalition that had filed the original complaint against Ukraine, and asked if they would object if the government approved some of the GSP Rights of Ukraine would restore. IIPA represents copyright holders in the music, film, book and software industries who are being cheated out millions of dollars in royalties.
For a long time, Ukraine was a paradise for piracy, and this year was one of eleven countries listed on the USTR's list of priorities for intellectual property infringements. According to US officials, Ukrainian government agencies often use fake software. Black market operators make fake physical and digital products. Some claim to represent copyright owners and collect royalties in their name, but then do not distribute them to the artists.
"We supported the decision of the US government in one way or another," said Eric Schwartz, a lawyer representing the IIPA
The USTR's decision to suspend some of Ukraine's duty-free privileges involved products like candy bars, helium, mushrooms, deodorant and riflescopes.
The partial suspension has had a dramatic impact on US imports of these individual products. According to the US International Trade Commission's online database, Ukrainian chocolate shipments to the United States fell more than half last year from $ 247,500 to $ 110,000.
However, Ukraine participates only marginally in the GSP program and its partial suspension was only moderately financial. Of the $ 1.4 billion the country had sold to American customers last year, only $ 51 million went to the US via the Duty Free program.
India, which was also excluded from the program, is the largest beneficiary of US sales last year, at $ 6.3 billion.
"We have not heard much about this suspension from Ukraine," said Morgan Williams, president of the US-Ukraine Business Council. "We think they should be more interested."
Over the years, various Ukrainian governments have failed to meet repeated promises to tighten their enforcement of intellectual property rights. At a USTR hearing in September 2017, Vitalii Tarasiuk, head of the Economic and Trade Office of the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, said protection of intellectual property was "one of the top priorities" for her government.
Aggression "curtailed the resources that Kiev was able to provide for improving its intellectual property environment.
Trump took office to deal with foreign countries that had exploited the United States in trade. Although faced with large trading partners such as China and the European Union, the president sent Lighthizer to remedy shortcomings in smaller trade programs.
Three days before Christmas 2017, the President went against Ukraine for failing to provide "sufficient supplies" and effective intellectual property rights protection (IPR) despite years of encouragement and support from the US government. "
" President Trump has sent a clear message that the US will vigorously enforce eligibility criteria for preferential access to the US market, "Lighthizer announced the move. "The beneficiary countries either work with USTR to meet the trade preference criteria or are facing enforcement action. The government is anxious to make sure that other countries in our trade deal with the end of their trade agreement. "
Trump postponed the effective date of the partial suspension by 120 days and said Ukraine had" a viable way to improve the situation, including improving the current legal framework for the reimbursement of royalties to rights holders' organizations.
When Kiev did not act fast enough, the government reversed the partial stop on April 26, 2018. Ukraine then passed legislation to dispel some of the concerns of the White House. The measure was welcomed by the US industry and government officials. However, the existing rogue operators, many of whom had connections to the government, remained intact, which was a major shortcoming in the eyes of American critics.
Nonetheless, US industry-backed US officials thought it would be useful to reward Ukraine's efforts by restoring duty-free represent some of the products that were taken out of service last year.
Lighthizer's recommendation was routinely reviewed by the administration this year, including the Office of Management and Budget and the State Department. The formal paperwork was sent to the office of Derek Lyons, the secretary of the White House.
Asked questions a senior administration official said last month that Ukraine's decision had been delayed by a routine check. This month, Ukraine's announcement was to be packed with separate trade deals between Thailand and Mali and prepared for action.
When the Ukrainian impeachment investigation started, Lighthizer ripped the recommendation back a second time
Dan Balz, Anne Gearan and Shane Harris in Washington and David Stern in Kiev contributed to this report.