GSP Duty-Free Treatment Opportunity

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has initiated its annual review of the products and countries eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP and is accepting petitions seeking to add, preserve or remove GSP benefits.

On June 29, 2015, President Obama signed into law a bill (H.R. 1295), that reauthorizes the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) (which expired on July 31, 2013) through Dec. 31, 2017.  Under the new law, duty reductions under the GSP program will begin 30 days after the law is enacted, which is effective July 29, 2015.

H.R. 1295 also extends duty reductions retroactively for any goods entered in between July 31, 2013, and the effective date.  This excludes goods that entered from Russia, which formally graduated from the GSP program on Oct. 4, 2014, and any other countries that are no longer eligible for GSP benefits, such as Bangladesh. [source]

According to Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, importers may submit petitions to:

Product Review. Interested parties, including foreign governments, may submit petitions to:

  • Designate additional articles as eligible for GSP benefits, including when imported only from (a) least-developed beneficiary developing countries or (b) beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act;
  • Withdraw, suspend or limit the application of GSP duty-free treatment with respect to any article; and
  • Otherwise modify GSP coverage.

Such petitions are due by Oct. 4 and must include a detailed description of the product and the eight-digit HTSUS subheading under which it is classified.

Country Practices Review. Any interested party may submit a petition to:

  • Review the GSP eligibility of any BDC with respect to any of the GSP designation criteria (petitions due by Oct. 4); or
  • Waive the 2016 competitive need limitation for individual BDCs with respect to specific articles that would otherwise be removed from GSP eligibility (petitions due by Dec. 2).

USTR states that before submitting CNL waiver petitions prospective petitioners may wish to review the 2016 year-to-date import trade data for products of interest that is available here.

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