Obama announces removal of Russian trade benefits in midst of fight over Ukraine involvement

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WASHINGTON – The United States is removing special trade benefits for Russia in the midst of a fight over its involvement in Ukraine.

President Barack Obama notified Congress on Tuesday that he’s removing Russia from the Generalized System of Preferences program because the country is now too economically developed to need the benefits. The White House also said Russia’s involvement in Ukraine made it “particularly appropriate to take this step now.”

The White House says the action means imports of Russian goods will be subject to normal tax rates.

The announcement comes on the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin (POO’-tihn) said his country has pulled troops back from the border it shares with Ukraine. But the White House says there is “no evidence” that Russia has done so.

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