The Obama administration on Monday announced the outcome of its 2011 Annual Review of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a 36-year-old trade preference program under which the United States provides duty-free treatment to many imports from developing countries.
Based on the administration’s review of various issues and petitions related to eligibility of products under GSP, President Obama made several determinations affecting product coverage under GSP.
He determined seven cotton fiber products should be added to the list of those eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP when imported from least developed country (LDC) beneficiaries. The addition of these products implements one element of the LDC trade initiatives that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced at the December 2011 World Trade Organization Ministerial.
Obama also re-designated one product as eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP program; granted waivers of competitive need limitations (CNLs) for over 100 products from 12 countries, including both petitioned and de minimis waivers; and determined that 11 products from six countries should no longer be eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP program because the relevant country is sufficiently competitive and exceeded CNLs for the product.
The changes to GSP eligibility for these products became effective July 1.
As part of this year’s review, the administration also considered petitions to withdraw or suspend certain countries’ eligibility for GSP benefits based on statutory criteria, including whether a country is taking steps to afford internationally recognized standards for worker rights and the extent to which a country adequately and effectively protects intellectual property rights (IPR).
In the 2011 review, USTR has accepted for formal review four new country practice petitions on Fiji and Iraq regarding worker rights, and Indonesia and Ukraine regarding IPR. Next steps in the review of these petitions will be announced in the Federal Register
Also, as part of this year’s review, USTR has decided to close the GSP country practice review of worker rights in Sri Lanka without any change to Sri Lanka’s GSP trade benefits. Several other country practice petitions accepted in previous years remain under review, including Lebanon, Russia, and Uzbekistan regarding IPR protection, and Bangladesh, Georgia, Niger, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan regarding worker rights.
The full results of the 2011 GSP Annual Review are available on the USTR Website
and will also be announced in the Federal Register
Under the GSP program, up to 5,000 types of products from 128 beneficiary developing countries, including 43 least-developed countries, are eligible for duty-free importation into the United States. In 2011, the total value of imports that entered the United States duty-free under GSP was $18.5 billion.