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Thai passenger tires will lose duty-free status

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Certain passenger tires from Thailand will no longer enjoy duty-free status thanks to a recent ruling by the Obama Administration.

The administration recently reviewed products that are exported to the United States under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which Congress created in 1974 to help developing countries expand their economies by giving certain goods duty-free status.

"After addressing which products should continue to benefit from the duty-free treatment under GSP, President Obama determined that five products from three beneficiary countries are now sufficiently competitive in the United States," read a recent statement from the office of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

"As a result, duty-free treatment will be withdrawn from those products, including certain passenger tires from Thailand, wood flooring from Brazil, and gold rope necklaces from India."

Earlier this year, Bridgestone Americas Inc., Falken Tire Corp., and other tire manufacturers requested that the government retain duty-free status for certain passenger tires made in Thailand.

Bridgestone recently released a statement in response to the Obama Administration's decision.

"Even though we source very little from Thailand for the U.S., we believed strongly that the duty preference continued to serve its purpose and should have remained in place," said Bridgestone officials. "We respect the president's right to take the action announced. However, we respectfull agree" with his decision.

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