Bills Renewing GSP and Tariff Suspensions Are Racing Against the Clock

With the end of July approaching, Congress has finally turned some of its attention to addressing overdue international trade matters. However, it may be too late to prevent at least a temporary disruption to importers who are taking advantage of duty savings by using the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which is currently set to expire on July 31, 2013.

GSP is a preferential trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world. It provides for duty-free treatment of certain merchandise that is produced and exported from select beneficiary developing countries (BDCs). In 2012, the program was responsible for the duty-free entry of nearly $20 billion in eligible goods from 127 beneficiary developing countries. In order to be eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP, qualifying goods must: (1) consist of at least 35 percent by value of local BDC content; and (2) be directly shipped from the BDC to the United States.

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