U.S. GSP Renewal and Refund Update
By Doug Jacobson, Jacobson Burton PLLC
In addition, because GSP was renewed retroactively to July 31, 2013, US importers are now eligible to receive retroactive benefits on GSP eligible imports that entered the U.S. between July 31, 2013 and July 29, 2015.
However, because Bangladesh and Russia have lost their GSP eligibility, retroactive and future GSP benefits on imports from Bangladesh and Russia are not eligible for refunds or future GSP claims.
CBP has also posted a list of GSP-related frequently asked questions, which can be found here.
CBP’s instructions for obtaining GSP refunds are set forth below.
US GSP Refund Process
Recognizing the impact that retroactive renewal and consequent numerous re-liquidations will have on both importers and CBP, CBP developed a mechanism to facilitate refunds for entries submitted during the lapse period using the Special Program Indicator (SPI) for GSP (with the letter "A," "A+," or "A*") as a prefix to the tariff number. We expect to begin automated processing of these shortly after the effective date.
B. Formal/Informal Entries
CBP will liquidate or reliquidate all affected entry summaries and refund any duties deposited (without interest) for items qualifying for GSP and for which requests for liquidation or reliquidation are timely filed. Field locations will not issue GSP refunds except as instructed to do so by CBP Headquarters.
If as stated above, an ABI entry summary was filed with payment of estimated duties using the Special Program Indicator (SPI) for GSP (with the letter "A," "A+," or "A*") as a prefix to the tariff number, no further action by the filer is required; filings with the SPI "A," "A+," or "A*" will be treated as confirming requests for refunds.
If an ABI entry summary was filed with payment of estimated duties without the use of the SPI "A," "A+," or "A*" as a prefix to the tariff number, a refund of duties deposited must be requested in writing as described below for non-ABI entry summaries.
Non-ABI filers must request a refund in writing from the Port Director at the port of entry by December 28, 2015, regardless if they previously designated a refund on the Customs Form 7501 by using the SPI "A," "A+," or "A*" code. The request may cover either single entry summaries or all entry summaries filed by an individual filer at a single port. To expedite refunds, CBP recommends the following information be included in each letter:
A statement requesting a refund, as provided by section 201 of Title II of the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015;
An enumeration of the entry numbers and line items for which refunds are requested; and
The amount requested to be refunded for each line item and the total amount owed (not including interest) for all entry summaries.
C. Mail Entries
The addressees on mail entries must request a refund of GSP duties (not including interest) and return it, along with a copy of the CF 3419A, to the appropriate International Mail Branch (address listed on bottom right hand corner of CF 3419A). It is essential that a copy of the CF 3419A be included, as this will be the only means of identifying whether GSP products have been entered and estimated duties and fees have been paid.
D. Baggage Declarations and Non-ABI Informals
If travelers/importers wrote a statement directly on their Customs declarations (CF 6059B) or informal entries (CF 363 or CF 7501) requesting a refund (not including interest), no further action by the traveler/importer will be required; the statement will be treated as a conforming request for a refund. Failure to request a refund in this manner does not preclude a traveler/importer from otherwise making a timely request in writing, as described above for non-ABI filers.
Goods Eligible for Retroactive Benefits
The GSP reauthorization provides retroactive benefits only to goods from a country that is a beneficiary of the GSP program as of July 29, 2015. As such, this would exclude countries such as Bangladesh and Russia that lost eligibility between July 31, 2013 and July 29, 2015.