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GSP Programme Expired at Year-End but Retroactive Preferences Are Expected

The Generalised System of Preferences programme that provides duty-free treatment to a broad range of products from some 120 designated beneficiary developing countries and territories expired at the end of last year after the U.S. Congress failed to renew it. As a result, import tariffs on goods covered by this programme reverted to their most-favoured nation levels on 1 January 2018. Both the House of Representatives and Senate committees of jurisdiction have indicated that they intend to renew the programme this year and that such renewal will be retroactive. Thus, any goods that are imported during the lapse of the programme will ostensibly be eligible for a duty refund upon congressional passage.

CBP has issued an administrative message specifying certain procedures for importers of GSP-eligible goods following the expiration of the programme. For example, importers are strongly encouraged to continue to flag otherwise GSP-eligible importations with the special program indicator “A” and pay normal trade relations (column 1) duty rates. CBP is developing programming to provide for the batch processing of refunds on all importations made with SPI “A” and duties paid if GSP is renewed with retroactivity. Importers should ensure that all importer of record information in the Automated Commercial Environment is up-to-date and valid, including the importer’s mailing address and banking information, if the importer is a member of CBP’s ACH refund programme.

CBP will continue to allow post-importation GSP claims made via post-summary correction and protest on importations made while GSP was still in effect but until further notice will not allow such claims on importations made on or after the expiration date. Preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which as of 1 January 2017 are indicated by SPI “D” for eligible non-textile items, will remain in effect through 30 September 2025 irrespective of any lapse in GSP. Requests for the suspension of liquidation under 19 CFR 159.12 will be denied on importations of otherwise GSP-eligible goods imported during the lapse period.

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