Senate acts on GSP, TAA program
The U.S. Senate on Monday evening gave a favorable vote on the motion to invoke cloture on legislation to retroactively renew the Generalized System of Preferences and the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
GSP, which allows for duty-free treatment of certain goods from developing countries, was allowed to expire by Congress on Dec. 31. Since GSP’s expiration, it’s estimated that U.S. importers pay as much as $2 million a day in duties, according to the Coalition for GSP.
Nearly 130 countries and territories maintain GSP status with the United States. GSP applies to about 3,400 of the more than 10,500 products imported into the country. GSP-eligible products are mostly from manufacturers and semi-manufacturers of consumer electronics, machinery and parts, and selected agricultural and industrial goods.
The Coalition for GSP and numerous trade groups have lobbied Congress for the renewal of both GSP and TAA.
Though the Senate is scheduled to begin voting on amendments to the bill Tuesday afternoon, the National Foreign Trade Council called on senators to pass the bill without amendments, as agreed to in the bipartisan compromise, to ensure the swift passage of the pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama; TAA; GSP; and the Andean trade preferences.
“We welcome news that the Senate has taken the first procedural step in considering the renewal of GSP and TAA before the upcoming recess. Both programs are important to U.S. competitiveness and U.S. economic growth, as GSP affords our manufacturers access to low-cost inputs and TAA provides U.S. workers impacted by trade with the benefits and training they need to get back on their feet and back to work,” The NFTC said in a statement.
“The next few weeks will be critical on the trade front, and it is good to see that the ball is finally rolling,” the trade group added. “The NFTC strongly urges Congress and the administration to stay on course and continue working together in a bipartisan manner to renew faith with American workers and our trading partners around the globe.”