The August trade exchange between Bolton and Lighthizer on the commercial issue is the first indication that the suspension of assistance from the Ukrainian administration extends beyond Congress-approved military and security assistance to other government programs. It is unclear whether Trump directed Bolton to interfere with Ukraine's trade privileges or was even aware of the discussion.
"He was pulled out shortly before he went to the POTUS office," an administration official said, citing Ukraine documents and using an abbreviation for the US president. "Bolton intervened with Lighthizer to block him."
In response to questions from The Washington Post, another administration official said that the president's proclamation on the trade status of Ukraine and two other countries has been ongoing for several weeks in the White House secretary's office as part of a routine country review process.
A former US government official said that the president wanted the "complete elimination" of the global trade program in question. Known as the "Generalized System of Preferences" or the CAP, it allows 1
20 countries to ship about 1.5 percent of total U.S. imports without paying tariffs.
But in March 2018, Trump signed legislation re-authorizing the program by 2020, and Lighthizer in recent weeks negotiated with India to restore its CAP status, which was terminated in March.
Bolton resigned on September 10, one day before the administration released military aid under pressure from lawmakers.
In early October, almost two months after withdrawing its initial efforts to restore Ukraine's trade privileges, Lighthizer sent the necessary documentation to the White House for the second time. He later withdrew it again on October 17 amid a growing storm over the president's policy toward Ukraine.
The administration now plans to include the restoration of some of Ukraine's temporary privileges in a package of trade measures scheduled for release this month, said a person familiar with the planning.
This account is based on interviews with 10 current and former administration employees who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions. Speaker Bolton declined comment. The White House declined to comment. Lighthouse's cabinet did not respond to requests for comment.
Bolton's intervention came when the president told White House aides that any aid to Ukraine depended on Zelensky publicly, stating that his government would investigate the role of Hunter Biden as a member of the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, according to testimony at Congress this week by Acting US Ambassador William B. Taylor, Jr.
"The president does not want to help at all," said Taylor, Tim Morrison, Russia's top official in the National Security Council,
. later Bolton arrived in Kiev for a meeting with Zelensky. And on September 1, Gordon Sundland, US ambassador to the European Union who coordinates the administration's policy in Ukraine, told Taylor that "everything" depends on Zelensky, who says publicly that he will investigate Joe Biden and allegations of Ukrainian electoral interference in 2016 in the US, Taylor said Tuesday about an investigation into an impeachment in the House.
Bolton does not share Trump's view that Ukraine may be a source of harmful political information, but he was known weeks ago in the administration and in Kiev about the military
Taylor testified on Tuesday that Bolton was "so annoyed" "From a liaison between" investigations "and a proposed meeting between Trump and Zelensky that he stopped collecting White House Ukraine policy on July 10 and told National Security Council officials there" that they should have nothing to do with domestic policy. "
Bolton also gave instructions to the then head of Russia's NSC policy to "inform lawyers," according to a copy of Taylor's opening statement received by The Washington Post.
Bolton's controversial warning about trade privileges was Lighthouseer's recommendation to the White House that the president restores Ukraine's ability to export certain products to the US duty-free. Approximately one-third of Ukraine's benefits under the program were discontinued in December 2017 amid long-standing fears that the country was routinely violating US intellectual property rights.
This suspension comes into force in May 2018. After the Ukrainian government took steps to address US criticism, such as by passing a law to improve the collection of copyright royalties, employees of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) consider that they allow the country to regain about one-third of the suspended duty-free privileges.
In the summer, USTR officials contacted the International Intellectual Property Alliance or IIPA, an industrial coalition that filed its initial complaint against Ukraine, to ask if it would object if the government restores some of the CAP's rights in Ukraine. IIPA represents the copyright holders in the music, film, books and software industry, who have been cheated by millions of dollars in royalties.
For a long time, a refuge for piracy, Ukraine was one of 11 countries this year on the USTR's list of intellectual property infringement priorities. US officials say Ukrainian government agencies often use counterfeit software. Black market operators produce pirated physical and digital products. Some claim to represent copyright holders and collect royalties on their behalf, but then fail to distribute them to artists.
"We supported one or the other decision of the US Government," says Eric Schwartz, a lawyer representing IIPA. pistols, according to a 2017 Federal Register release
Partial stopping has had a dramatic impact on US imports of these individual products. Last year, Ukrainian chocolate shipments to the US fell by more than half to $ 110,000 from $ 247,500, according to the online database of the US International Trade Commission.
But Ukraine is a minor participant in the GSP program and its partial suspension has only had modest financial implications. Of the country's $ 1.4 billion in sales last year, only $ 51 million went to the United States through a duty-free program.
India, which has also been suspended from the program, is the largest beneficiary, with $ 6.3 billion in US Sales last year.
"We really haven't heard much about this shutdown by Ukraine," says Morgan Williams, president of the US-Ukraine Business Council. "We think they need to be more interested than that."
Over the years, various Ukrainian governments have failed to deliver on their repeated pledges to delay the enforcement of intellectual property rights. During a USTR hearing in September 2017, Vitaly Tarasyuk, head of the Economics and Commerce Department at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, said intellectual property protection was "one of the top priorities" for their government.
He also said "continuing Russian-language aggression" limited the resources that Kiev could devote to improving its intellectual property environment.
Trump pledges to promise to cross foreign countries that have benefited from US trade. Even when faced with major trading partners such as China and the European Union, the president sends Lighthizer to address the shortcomings in smaller trade programs.
Three days before Christmas 2017, the president spoke to Ukraine about the chronic failure to "adequately and effectively protect intellectual property rights (IPR), despite years of encouragement and assistance from the US government," according to a statement by USTR
"President Trump sent a clear message that the United States would vigorously apply the eligibility criteria for preferential access to the US market," Lighthizer said in announcing the move. "Beneficiary countries choose either to work with USTR to meet the eligibility criteria for trade preferences or to face enforcement actions. The administration is committed to ensuring that other countries continue to close the deal in our trade relations. "
Trump postponed the effective date of the partial suspension for 120 days, saying that Ukraine" has a viable path to remedy the situation, including improving the current legal regime governing the reimbursement of rights holders' organizations.
When Kiev failed to act quickly enough, the administration adjourned on April 26, 2018. Ukraine subsequently adopted legislation to address some of the White House's problems. The measure was welcomed by US industry and government officials. But that left in place existing rogue operators, many with government ties, a major flaw in the eyes of US critics.
However, US industry support officials believe it makes sense to reward Ukraine's efforts by restoring duty-free status to some of the products that were eliminated last year.
According to routine practice, Lighthizer's recommendation was widely reviewed by the administration this year, including the Office of Management and Budget and the State Department. The official documentation was sent to the office of Derek Lyons, White House secretary.
In response to questions a senior administration official said last month that Ukraine's decision was delayed as part of a routine review. This month, Ukraine's announcement was bundled with separate trading stocks including Thailand and Mali and was ready for action.
Then, when the Ukraine-directed House impeachment investigation gathered steam, Lighthizer made a second recommendation to Ukraine. .
Dan Balz, Ann Jearan and Shane Harris in Washington and David Stern in Kiev contributed to this report.