WASHINGTON – U.S.
Trade Representative Rob Portman today
announced that USTR will begin an examination of the Generalized System of
Preferences (GSP) program to determine if there are changes that could be made
in the program’s operation.
Specifically, the USTR will seek to increase the program’s effectiveness
in helping more countries benefit from the program and use trade in support of
The GSP program allows products from beneficiary countries to
enter the United
States duty free. Legislation authorizing the GSP program
expires on December 31, 2006. In
advance of Congressional consideration of re-authorization of the GSP program,
there will be a public hearing on November 3,
2005, and public
comments will be accepted through November 14,
“We are looking to identify ways in which we
can improve the operation of the GSP program to ensure that it fulfills its
purpose of helping developing countries use trade to aid their development,”
said Portman. "Finding ways to
ensure that countries share more equally in the benefits is a major objective."
Comments are being
sought on the following issues:
(1) whether some beneficiary countries are
sufficiently competitive with respect to trade in eligible products and have
expanded exports to the extent that they should no longer be designated as GSP
there are modifications to the operation of the GSP program that would enhance
the program’s effectiveness in helping beneficiary countries increase their
participation in the program and use trade in support of their development;
(3) the period
for which the Congress should reauthorize the GSP program.
The GSP program was
created by Congress in the Trade Act of 1974. Under the program, 139 beneficiary
countries export approximately 5,000 different products duty-free to the
In 2004, the top ten GSP beneficiary country
exporters, by trade volume of non-petroleum GSP products, were India, Brazil,
Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, Philippines, South Africa, Venezuela, Argentina,
and Russia. These countries
exported $14.6 billion in goods to the
States -- nearly 70 percent of the products
receiving GSP duty-free benefits.
The remaining 129 GSP beneficiary countries exported $8.1 billion in
goods duty-free into the United
States under the GSP program.