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GSP, AGOA Changes Include Withdrawal, Restoration, and Addition of Benefits

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

An Oct. 25 presidential proclamation is making the following changes to the Generalized System of Preferences following regular eligibility reviews, product reviews, and beneficiary developing country assessments.

The proclamation also designates Mali as a lesser-developed beneficiary country under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. As a result, effective 30 days after the proclamation is published in the Federal Register (likely within the next several days), Mali will become eligible for AGOA’s third-country fabric provision, which provides preferential treatment for apparel articles assembled in Mali regardless of the country of origin of the fabric used.

For more information on GSP and AGOA and how these changes may affect your business, please contact trade consultant Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956.

Thailand. Effective April 25, 2020, GSP eligibility will be revoked for approximately one-third of eligible products from Thailand (valued at about $1.3 billion), including all seafood products, based on that country’s failure to adequately provide internationally-recognized worker rights. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative states that the list of affected products (see attached) is focused on those for which the U.S. is a relatively important market for Thailand but Thailand accounts for a relatively small share of U.S. imports.  USTR notes that the market access eligibility review of Thailand will remain open.

Ukraine. Effective Oct. 30, the U.S. is restoring approximately one-third of the $36 million (see attached for full list) in GSP benefits removed for Ukraine in December 2017 for failure to provide adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights. USTR states that in 2018 Ukraine passed new legislation aimed at improving the governance of collective management organizations that provides a framework to address concerns covered by the GSP review. However, this legislation has some shortcomings and USTR continues to have significant concerns with Ukraine’s IPR protection and enforcement. 

Country Reviews Closed. USTR has closed with no loss of GSP eligibility reviews for Bolivia and Iraq, based on improvements in the protection of worker rights, and Uzbekistan, based on improvements in IPR protection and enforcement (though a separate worker rights review of Uzbekistan will remain open).

Country Reviews Initiated. USTR has self-initiated country reviews for Azerbaijan, based on concerns with its compliance with the GSP worker rights criterion, and South Africa, based on concerns with its compliance with the GSP IPR criterion in the area of copyright protection and enforcement. Dates for a public hearing and comment period for these reviews will be announced in an upcoming Federal Register notice.

Product Review Determinations. Effective Nov. 1, the following actions will be taken as a result of the annual product review.

- continuing GSP eligibility for polyethylene terephthalate (HTSUS 3907.61.00 and 3907.69.00) from Pakistan after denying a petition for removal

- reinstating GSP eligibility for orchids (HTSUS 0603.13.00) from Thailand, bamboo plywood (HTSUS 4412.10.05) from Indonesia, and tropical plywood sheets (HTSUS 4412.31.4155) from Indonesia

- excluding diesel motor vehicles designed to transport 16 or more persons (HTSUS 8702.10.31) from North Macedonia from GSP eligibility for exceeding the relevant competitive need limitation

- denying a CNL waiver petition, and thus removing GSP eligibility, for stearic acid (HTSUS 3823.11.00) from Indonesia

- approving a CNL waiver petition, and thus continuing GSP eligibility, for spectacle lenses (HTSUS 9001.50.00) from Thailand

- granting de minimis waivers, and thus continuing GSP eligibility, for the following products

   - swordfish fillets (HTSUS 0304.91.90) from Thailand

   - unripened or uncured cheese (HTSUS 0406.10.04) from Ecuador

   - garbanzo beans (HTSUS 0708.90.05) from Argentina

   - truffles (HTSUS 0711.59.90) from Thailand

   - mace (HTSUS 0908.22.20) from Indonesia

   - peanuts (HTSUS 1202.30.40) from Paraguay

   - cane/beet sugar and pure sucrose (HTSUS 1701.91.42) from Brazil

   - sugar syrups, artificial honey, caramel (HTSUS 1702.90.52) from Indonesia

   - cane molasses (HTSUS 1703.10.30) from Brazil

   - cocoa preparations (HTSUS 1806.90.01) from Thailand

   - mixes for bakers wares (HTSUS 1901.20.02) from Brazil

   - cherry juice (HTSUS 2009.89.65) from Brazil

   - fruit or vegetable juices (HTSUS 2202.99.37) from the Philippines

   - calcium carbide (HTSUS 2849.10.00) from Brazil

   - mixtures of bismuth (HTSUS 3824.99.31) from Brazil

   - rubber transmission belts (HTSUS 4010.35.30) from Argentina

   - whole bovine hides/skins (HTSUS 4101.20.40) from Pakistan

   - whole raw bovine hides and skins (HTSUS 4101.50.40) from Brazil

   - raw hides and skins of reptiles (HTSUS 4103.20.20) from Thailand

   - hides and skins of goats or kids (HTSUS 4106.21.90 and 4106.22.00) from Pakistan

   - articles of catgut (HTSUS 4206.00.13) from Brazil

   - rattan articles carried in the pocket or handbag (HTSUS 4602.12.23) from Indonesia

   - base metal clad with gold necklaces and neck chains (HTSUS 7113.20.29) from Jordan

   - voltage regulator parts and accessories (HTSUS 9032.90.21) from Thailand

   - rifles (HTSUS 9303.30.40) from Serbia

   - brooms and brushes (HTSUS 9603.10.90) from Sri Lanka

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