GSP EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 2001
The Generalized System of Preferences was extended late last week by both
the House and Senate to September 2001.
GSP provides duty-free treatment to imports of certain products from
specified developing countries. The program expired on June 30 and U.S. importers have
been paying duties while waiting for the program to be renewed.
In 1998, $16.3 billion of goods was imported duty-free under the
program, a savings to U.S. importers of about $500 million in import duties.
The 24-year-old program also benefits developing countries by making their
goods more attractive to U.S. importers. Without the program, U.S. tariffs would remain
high on a number of imported goods from these countries, such as ceramic tiles (17.5
percent duty), flashlights (12.5 percent), umbrella parts (12 percent) and color TV
monitors (15 percent).
The program is usually extended in yearly increments. "This is the first
time in a long time that Congress has renewed it for more than a year,"
said the Coalition for GSP, a Washington-based industry group which
promotes the program.