It’s now coming up on a year since the expiration of the General System of Preferences (GSP) program on July 31, 2013. GSP offers duty-free treatment upon entry to certain goods of certain countries to help with their economic development. In past years, the renewal of GSP has been a contentious issue with the House of Representatives seeking an added revenue offset to make up for the lost duties collected.
When GSP has expired in the past, it has been renewed in weeks or months, and always retroactively.
For the first time, though, GSP has been gone so long that Customs entries are starting to liquidate, and importers are worried that they are being deprived of an opportunity to claim them retroactively. This is because by law, entries liquidate 314 days after the date of entry.
There was a push and recommendation from the NCBFAA and others that perhaps importers should file protests to protect their right of recovery.
On May 16th, CBP issued a notice saying that protests would be ineffective, and it really requires Congress to renew GSP with the retroactive provision.
The President announced his intention to remove Russia from the list of GSP beneficiary countries, a move seen to help advance the discussion since Russia represents a little over $16 million in benefits annually.
If you are interested in what you can do to try and help renew GSP, we suggest speaking to your industry’s trade association and see if they have a coordinated program. Otherwise, there is a coalition of companies who work under the banner of the Coalition to Renew GSP at their website, Renew GSP Today.