The Generalized Systems of Preference expired on Jan. 1. The GSP is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from some 130 designated beneficiary countries and territories. It’s been in place for about 40 years.
The situation has left importers and brokers wondering how long it will take until Congress renews the program. Currently, companies that were importing goods duty free under GSP are now paying a duty. In the past when GSP lapsed, the renewal of GSP was retroactive with duty refunds made to companies.
The trade community, including our team, is closely following news reports since a compromise spending package may offer a means for both GSP renewal and passage of a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB).
According to a statement by the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America Inc. the government is currently funded by a temporary Continuing Resolution (CR), which expires Jan. 19. Congressional leaders hoped to have a bipartisan agreement in hand before Jan. 19, which is this Friday. Immigration and spending issues continue to complicate their talks. Lawmakers now acknowledge they will need to extend the CR once again — perhaps until mid-February or early March. Once an agreement is reached, however, trade leaders in Congress hope to quietly add GSP renewal and the MTB to the must-pass spending package.