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June 30, 2008 

USTR Announces Results of 2007 GSP Annual Review

Today the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the results of the 2007 Annual Review of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

As a result of this year’s review, duty-free treatment for the vast majority of products covered by GSP will continue. In addition, the GSP eligibility for 99 exports from specific countries will continue, even though the quantities of those exports exceeded statutory thresholds in 2007. As authorized by the GSP statute, the Administration will waive those thresholds known as “competitive need limitations” (CNLs).

While adding three types of aluminum products to the list of GSP-eligible products from all beneficiary countries, the USTR determined that 25 products from beneficiary countries can compete effectively in the U.S. market without duty-free treatment and will no longer be eligible under the GSP program. This group includes 21 products that exceeded the statutory CNLs and four products that have had waivers to the CNLs for the past five years and are now subject to statutory “super-competitiveness” thresholds.

The USTR's Annual Review also involved an analysis of petitions to withdraw or limit a country’s GSP benefits for not meeting GSP eligibility criteria. These criteria include the extent to which a country provides adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and whether a country is taking steps to ensure internationally recognized worker rights. Several beneficiaries remain under active scrutiny because of such concerns, including: Lebanon, Russia and Uzbekistan regarding their lack of IPR protection, and Bangladesh, Niger, the Philippines and Uzbekistan regarding worker rights.

The U.S. GSP program, which provides duty-free treatment for nearly 5,000 products exported to the United States from 132 beneficiary developing countries, will expire on December 31, 2008 unless renewed by Congress.

Update: The USTR also published in the Federal Register a notice announcing the initiation of a review to consider designating Vietnam as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP program. Public comments on whether Vietnam meets certain eligibility criteria for designation as a BDC must be submitted to USTR by August 4, 2008.

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