The progress of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) renewal bill may receive a prod in Congress within a few weeks, reports International Trade Today. The Senate Finance Committee is likely to mark up the bill in mid-to-late April, which will be the next step in introduction to passage. According to insiders, the bill is widely expected to move alongside other legislation including Trade Promotion Authority, although there are still unresolved issues over GSP offsets and CBP enforcement provisions in Customs Reauthorization.
GSP allows 126 developing countries and territories to export thousands of goods to the United States without paying import duties depending upon the classification. Originally intended as a development program for poor countries, supporters say it also helps U.S. companies and consumers by reducing costs.
In addition, the GSP program also supports U.S. jobs. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. businesses imported $19.9 billion worth of products under the GSP program in 2012, including many inputs used in U.S. manufacturing.
Essentially, GSP gives duty free status to certain commodities from certain underdeveloped nations. It has been expired since July, 2013. Many importers who have previously relied on their shipments being free of duty have been paying duty since July. If the legislation renews retroactively, the importers will likely get refunds, as happened when the legislation last lapsed in 2011.
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