WASHINGTON - On August 8, 2006, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published a request for comments on the Eligibility of Certain GSP Beneficiaries and Existing Competitive Need Limitation (CNL) Waivers. USTR subsequently received over 800 comments, which are now available for online viewing at: http://www.ustr.gov/Trade_Development/Preference_Programs/GSP/2006_GSP_Public_Comments/Section_Index.html
The comments available for public viewing have been divided into separate PDF files for each country, which can be accessed by using Adobe Acrobat. Also included is a separate file for public comments that discuss all beneficiaries under review or focus on the GSP program as a whole. Next to each file name are the number of comments received and size of each PDF file. Viewers can search each file by keywords to find specific comments.
Legislation authorizing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program expires on December 31, 2006. The Bush Administration initiated a review of the GSP program in October 2005 with a view toward ensuring that more countries benefit from GSP and use trade in support of their economic development.
On August 7, 2006, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced that the Bush Administration would begin the second phase of its review of the GSP program, which provides duty-free treatment for goods from 133 beneficiary developing countries. Comments from interested parties were due to USTR on Tuesday, September 5, 2006.
Ambassador Schwab has stated that both the United States and participating countries benefit from expanded trade under the program, and it is important that GSP be reauthorized when it expires at the end of the year.
At the initiation of the second phase review, USTR requested public input to determine whether, consistent with statutory criteria, the eligibility of thirteen major beneficiaries of the GSP program (Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela) should be limited, suspended, or withdrawn.
The Administration is also conducting a review of the 83 existing competitive need limitation (CNL) waivers and requested comments on whether any waivers should be terminated. The waivers have been granted to specific countries and allow particular products to be imported duty-free into the United States without being subject to statutory market share and annual import caps.
Nineteen GSP beneficiaries currently benefit from CNL waivers. These beneficiaries are: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. The detailed list of all current CNL waivers is on the USTR website here.