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December 22, 2010 

Congress Adjourns Without Renewing GSP or Passing Miscellaneous Tariff Bills

The U.S. Congress adjourned today without renewing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which expires on December 31, 2010, or passing the numerous miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs) that eliminate customs duties on certain imported products.

While the Senate late today passed a scaled down version of the House-passed measure that included the GSP renewal (H.R. 6517) the final version of that bill which passed the Senate and was agreed to by the House did not contain the language renewing GSP or enacting the MTBs.

As a result, starting on January 1, 2011 U.S. importers of GSP-eligible merchandise will have to pay normal U.S. customs duties until further notice.

The last time that the GSP program expired Congress renewed the program retroactively, which allowed importers to obtain refunds of any customs duties paid. However, the refund process takes time and needs to be closely monitored by the importers.

In the meantime, importers should consult with their customs brokers to ensure that entries of GSP-eligible products are flagged with the GSP Special Program Indicator
indicator (SPI) "A". Using that SPI will help facilitate any refunds that may be authorized by Congress next year.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more information.

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