The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)-chaired Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee held a public hearing today to gather testimony regarding the eligibility of the Union of Burma and the Lao People's Democratic Republic for GSP trade benefits. The GSP program is designed to promote economic growth in developing countries by providing duty-free entry for up to 5,000 products imported from beneficiary developing countries. To qualify for GSP benefits, a country must meet certain statutory eligibility criteria, which include, but are not limited to, protection of worker rights and intellectual property rights (IPR) and honoring arbitral awards.
The GSP Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee gathers testimony today at USTR.
A multitude of stakeholders, including representatives from the respective countries and other interested parties such as industry and advocacy groups, testified at today’s hearing and offered their opinion on whether or not Burma and Laos meet the GSP eligibility criteria. The hearing was open to members of the public and media, and represents another step in USTR’s efforts to promote transparency and engagement with trade stakeholders.
The full program for the hearing may be found here. Public submissions related to these GSP country practice reviews are available at www.regulations.gov in docket #USTR-2013-0020 (Burma) and USTR-2013-0021 (Laos).