U.S. Trade Representative Urges Congress to Extend GSP, TAA and ATPA Trade Programs
Today, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk released the following statement on the need to renew and extend the GSP, TAA and ATPA trade programs:
“I am disappointed that Congress has not acted to extend Trade Adjustment Assistant (TAA), the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). These are important programs that support workers and help U.S. businesses compete in the global marketplace. As a result of this inaction, 155,000 Americans will go without the assistance they were promised under TAA to help retrain for a new job,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “Farmers and workers in Colombia will lose access to the U.S. market just as they are recovering from severe floods. At the same time, the continuing absence of ATPA and GSP benefits raises costs for American consumers and businesses as well as farmers in some of the world’s poorer countries.”
“We encourage Congress to extend these three programs as soon as possible and to do so for substantially more than a few months. We are committed to working with Congress to secure reauthorization of these essential trade programs.”As we reported, the U.S. Congress adjourned in December 2010 without renewing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which expired on December 31, 2010. While Congress enacted short-term extensions of ATPA and TAA, both programs expired on February 12, 2011.
The Coalition for GSP has created the "Renew GSP Today" blog, which contains useful information and updates on the importance of GSP renewal to U.S. companies and consumers. On a lighter note, since today is Valentine's day, the blog notes that $150 million worth of candy and chocolate entered the U.S. under the GSP program in 2010, accounting for savings of more than $8.5 million in import duties.