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GSP Renewal Still Possible by Year End but Refunds Uncertain

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Although fiscal policy issues continue to dominate the attention of lawmakers in Washington, Nicole Bivens Collinson, president of trade negotiations and legislative affairs for Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, says Congress could still pass by the end of this year an omnibus trade bill that includes a renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences. GSP expired July 31 and since that time covered products from beneficiary countries have been subject to most-favored-nation tariffs when imported into the U.S., costing domestic manufacturers an estimated $2 million a day. Though previous reauthorizations of GSP have virtually always been retroactive, allowing importers to claim refunds of duties paid during the lapse, Collinson noted that this time Congress may not be in the mood to spend the money that retroactivity would require.

David Olave, director of trade and legislative affairs for ST&R, added that any legislative action to renew GSP is not expected to incorporate any of the program revisions that some lawmakers have suggested in recent years in an effort to focus benefits on countries that truly need them. Legislation introduced earlier this year in both the House and Senate includes a simple extension of the existing GSP through September 2015, and any congressional action on GSP this year will likely be on that measure.

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