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January 30, 2018 | by    

Despite Lapse In Program, U.S. Customs Urges Importers To Keep Track Of GSP-Eligible Goods

The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, or GSP, expired on December 31, 2017. As The Washington Post explains, this program, instituted by Congress in 1974, “is supposed to encourage economic development by offering poor countries a patchwork framework to export tariff-free into the U.S. market.” The GSP covers only $19 billion in imports, but does apply to some imports from China.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has a list of GSP-eligible goods on its website. It is unclear when or whether Congress will debate legislation to reauthorize and extend GSP. (The last time GSP expired, it took lawmakers 23 months to renew the program.)

In the meantime, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued a statement strongly encouraging importers “to continue to flag GSP-eligible importations with the SPI ‘A,’ even as they pay normal trade relations duty rates on otherwise GSP-eligible importations.” That’s because, as the CBP noted, “All previous GSP renewals that have taken effect after a lapse have included a retroactive clause providing refunds to importers of eligible goods imported during the lapse period.” Click here for CBP’s full statement.

Metals Service Center Institute members are encouraged to contact their senators and representatives to let them know how they feel about GSP, and why it is important to them. Click here for contact information for every member of the U.S. House and here for senators.