The fifteen nations of Algeria, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Fiji, Georgia, Indonesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and Yemen have formed the Alliance of GSP Countries to urge extension of duty-free treatment of U.S. imports from their countries. That duty-free treatment occurs under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which expires on July 31, 2013 – in just 50 days. The Alliance seeks for Congress to renew the GSP quickly and for as long as possible. If not, the nations face adverse impacts to their economies and workers, and U.S. companies will pay $2 million daily in unexpected tariffs for essential raw materials and product inputs.
Today, the Alliance began sending letters from its Ambassadors to Members of Congress requesting GSP renewal. The letter includes an appendix of real-world examples of how the GSP reduces poverty and creates economic development by expanding exports from the 127 GSP emerging economies. The Ambassadors cautioned, “…Investors and businesses in our countries require a predictable environment regarding the duty treatment of their products in the U.S. market. If Congress allows the GSP to lapse or if it is extended only for a short time, certainty disappears and the program’s benefits are seriously undermined.”
The importance of the GSP cannot be underestimated. GSP benefits more than 3.8 billion people living in two-thirds of the world’s economies. The GSP also strengthens the U.S. economy by generating tens of thousands of jobs and providing U.S. manufacturers with needed inputs. In 2012, alone, the GSP saved U.S. companies and consumers $750 million in duties on $20 billion of U.S. imports. Seamless GSP renewal is a priority for many American companies that keep competitive through importing raw materials, intermediary goods, and machinery duty-free.
Previous experience shows that every time Congress allows GSP to lapse, GSP trade suffers for the long term. Retroactive renewal places financial strains on U.S. companies and causes the loss of hard-fought U.S. market niches for GSP’s exporters.
The Ambassadors’ letter is part of an advocacy campaign involving U.S. importers and others affected by the loss of duty-free U.S. imports. The Alliance’s letter can be found here. Information on the Alliance and GSP is at www.allianceforgsp.org