Congress Extends GSP and ATPA Programs Until December 31, 2009
In addition to passing the bailout bill on the last day of this session of Congress, the House and Senate did U.S. importers a favor by passing H.R 7222, legislation that will extend the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program and the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) until December 31, 2009. Both programs would have expired on December 31, 2008 if they had not been renewed. The bill has been sent to President Bush and will be signed soon.
H.R. 7222 also makes several to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), including repealing the “abundant supply” requirement that restricts least-developed AGOA countries’ ability to use AGOA’s flexible “third country fabric” rule and reinstating Mauritius’ eligibility to use the program’s “third-country fabric” provisions.
The legislation also establishes a Dominican Republic "2 for 1" textile and apparel allowance program to be developed and administered by the Secretary of Commerce. Under the program, when producers purchase a certain quantity of qualifying U.S. fabric (2 square meter equivalents or “SMEs”) for apparel production in the Dominican Republic, they will receive a credit (equivalent to 1 SME). This credit can then be used to ship a corresponding quantity of eligible apparel (pants and other bottoms) from the Dominican Republic to the United States duty-free regardless of the origin of the fabric from which the apparel product is made.