Based on its annual review of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the White House determined only one product – certain non-down sleeping bags – should be removed from eligibility for duty-free treatment in the trade program.
However, a petition to remove GSP duty-free treatment for two types of self-adhesive plastic tape was denied.
Congress created the GSP program in the 1974 Trade Act to help developing countries expand their economies by allowing certain goods to be imported to the United States duty-free.
“GSP is an important element both of this Administration’s trade agenda and of its efforts to help developing countries grow their economies through increased trade,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk in a statement. “The annual review of GSP helps us to ensure that the program is working as it should and that developments affecting country and product eligibility are taken into account, consistent with the GSP statute.”
On Oct. 21, President Obama signed legislation authorizing the GSP program through July 31, 2013 and retroactively applying GSP trade benefits for eligible products that entered the United States on or after Jan. 1, 2011. Under the GSP program, 129 beneficiary developing countries, including 42 least-developed countries, are eligible to export up to 4,881 types of products to the United States duty-free. In 2010, the total value of imports that entered the United States duty-free under GSP was $22.6 billion.
Meanwhile, the administration continues to review several country practices petitions that seek to withdraw or limit a country’s GSP benefits based on that country’s non-compliance with certain statutory eligibility criteria. As previously announced in the Federal Register, a public hearing will be held at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Jan. 24 to receive testimony on country practices petitions related to worker rights concerns in Bangladesh, Georgia, Niger, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.