Office of the United States Trade Representative


Update from Hong Kong: Duty-Free Quota-Free

Background on U.S. Preference Programs

The United States currently provides preferential treatment to products from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) through various preferential programs, such as the tremendously successful African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the Carribean Basin Initiative (CBI), the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), and “GSP-plus” for least developed countries.

LDCs overall are already eligible for duty-free access to the United States on 83% of the 10,265 tariff lines in the U.S. tariff schedule.  LDC’s covered by AGOA and CBI are eligible for duty-free access on up to 91% of the tariff lines in the U.S. tariff schedule.

Results from Hong Kong

The results of the Hong Kong Ministerial included a political commitment to provide duty-free/quota-free market access to products from LDCs.

The Hong Kong political commitment is to provide duty-free/quota-free market access for at least 97 percent of tariff lines.  Ministers also agreed to take steps to progressively expand beyond 97 percent– but to take into account any impact on other developing countries at similar levels of development as LDCs.

Ministers agreed that Members would implement the initiative coincident with the implementation of the results of the negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda.  Members may also implement sooner.

Ministers also agreed that implementation of this political commitment would be accomplished on an autonomous basis, through their respective preferential trade regime, such as the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences.

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