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March 04, 2010 

GSP Import Benefits at Stake for Certain Countries and Products

March 25 Deadline for Comments on GSP Eligibility

U.S. importers, trade associations and foreign governments have until 5:00 p.m. on March 25 to submit comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative concerning the eligibility of certain goods for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences. These comments may seek to preserve, reinstate or revoke this treatment.

The U.S. GSP program includes provisions, known as competitive need limitations, that trigger the removal of duty-free treatment if imports of a covered product from a beneficiary developing country exceed certain limits. For calendar year 2009, these limits are (a) 50% of the value of total U.S. imports of the product from all countries or (b) $140 million. Once the president determines that a CNL has been exceeded, GSP duty-free treatment for the subject article must be terminated no later than July 1 of the next calendar year.

However, CNL waivers are permitted for products that are imported in de minimis quantities. In addition, duty-free treatment may be reinstated for products that no longer exceed the CNL.

USTR is therefore accepting comments from interested parties on the following potential modifications to GSP eligibility, based on import data for calendar year 2009.

De Minimis Waiver - The president may waive the 50% CNL with respect to an eligible article imported from a BDC if the value of total imports of that article from all countries did not exceed $19.5 million.

Redesignation Request - If imports of an eligible article from a BDC ceased to receive duty-free treatment due to exceeding a CNL in a prior year, the president may redesignate that article for duty-free treatment if imports in the 2009 did not exceed the CNL.

Potential Revocation of a Current CNL Waiver - A CNL waiver remains in effect until the president determines that it is no longer warranted due to changed circumstances. However, the president should revoke any CNL waiver that has been in effect with respect to an article for five years or more if the BDC's exports of that article to the U.S. exceeded (a) $210 million (1.5 times the applicable CNL value limit) or (b) 75% of the value of total U.S. imports of that article.

A list of products that may qualify for one of these actions can be found on USTR's Web site.




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