Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine is still bustling with about 300,000 protesters, defying the country’s ban on protests on the capital city’s central square. The second week of daily protests come after Ukraine made the sudden decision to focus on boosting its ties with Russia, vetoing a potentially historic trade deal with the European Union (EU). The deal was set to be signed on November 29, 2013.

slide_327590_3170628_freeProtesters throw stones as they clash with police outside the presidential administration building in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. AP Photo/Sergei Grits

The Ukrainian government spent several years preparing for the landmark trade deal and included firm promises from Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, that it would be signed. The deal would have boosted Ukraine’s economy by more than 6 percent, saving businesses 500 million euros a year in import duties.

The decision follows vast pressure from Russia, including an attempt to block the EU trade deal by banning some Ukrainian imports and threatening more trade sanctions.

According to The Huffington Post, “The government argues the Ukrainian economy would not survive a trade war with Russia, after the Kremlin imposed restrictions on Ukrainian exports, warning Kiev of a possible trade blockade if it goes ahead with the EU deal.” This was the main, amongst many, reasons the government gave for the sudden reversal of its decision.

Amid the masked crowds, armed with rocks and other projectiles, come demands for the government’s resignation over the decision which has angered many of the city’s citizens. Protesters have swept away metal barriers, occupied government buildings and left EU and Ukrainian flags hanging from the square’s Christmas tree. According to opinion surveys in the country, 45 percent of Ukrainians support closer integration with the EU.

"Our plan is clear: It's not a demonstration, it's not a reaction. It's a revolution," said Yuriy Lutsenko, a former interior minister who is now an opposition leader.

For more on Ukraine’s decision and the ongoing protests, view the full article here

As of November 14, 2013, a total of 375 American companies and associations have added their names to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program Supporter List, calling for the immediate renewal of the GSP program. Congress allowed the legal authorization of the GSP program to expire on July 31, 2013.

The organizations calling upon Congress to renew the GSP program are incredibly diverse. They include companies and associations that are headquarted in 40 states (plus Washington, DC), import from more than a quarter of GSP-eligible countries, and garner GSP savings from as little as $1000 to millions of dollars per year.

As a result of the GSP expiration, these American companies now face an estimated $2 million per day in new taxes.

Click here to access the full article, which allows companies who are not yet on the list, the ability to add their name. These companies can also answer a survey, being used to learn about the impacts of GSP expiration.

Integration Point and US Customs & Border Protection will present a free, educational webcast, “US CBP Update:  One US Government at the Border Trade Transformation Initiative” on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. EST.

The 60-minute webcast will include an update on the One US Government at the Border Initiative, the steps being taken to achieve a holistic approach to border management, and the vision of a single window for Government and the trade community.

During the webcast Cynthia Whittenburg, Executive Director, Trade Policy and Programs, Office of International Trade, CBP; and Susan Dyszel, Chief, International Trade Data System, ACE Business Office (ABO), Office of International Trade, CBP, will provide an overview of the key points of the One U.S. Government at the Border initiative as well as the PGA message set in ACE.

During the webcast, attendees will also be able to:

  • Learn what the One US Government at the Border initiative means for you, CBP and PGAs
  • Understand the connection between the One U.S. Government at the Border initiative and the “Single Window”
  • Learn how the PGA Message Set will enable the “Single Window” to function
  • Understand how the PGA Message Set will be used in the EPA and FSIS pilots
  • Understand how you can get involved in the PGA Message Set pilots and ACE Cargo Release
  • Hear updates on CBP's expansion of system to system data exchanges to additional PGAs and CBP’s efforts on the Document Image System, which will allow CBP and PGA personnel to share information in an automated manner for the release of legitimate imported goods

A Q&A session will follow the webcast, and dialogue will continue here on the Global Trade News blog.

Register today for this free webcast!