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U.S. Trade Preference Programme for Developing Countries Renewed

The omnibus fiscal year 2018 spending bill signed into law on 23 March by President Trump includes a provision that, effective 22 April, will extend the Generalised System of Preferences through 31 December 2020. On the other hand, the spending bill did not include the miscellaneous tariff bill that would reduce or suspend import duties through 31 December 2020 on nearly 1,700 products that are not otherwise available in the United States.

The GSP extension will be retroactive to the programme’s expiration on 31 December 2017, meaning U.S. importers will be able to seek refunds of duties they have paid since that date on goods that would have otherwise been eligible for preferential treatment under GSP. The bill also requires USTR to submit to Congress each year a report on efforts to ensure that GSP beneficiary developing countries are meeting the programme’s eligibility criteria.

GSP provides duty-free treatment for more than 3,500 products imported from 120 beneficiary developing countries and an additional 1,500 products imported from least-developed BDCs. The combined lists include most dutiable manufactured and semi-manufactured products as well as certain agricultural, fishery and primary industrial products that are not otherwise duty-free. Mainland China is not a beneficiary of the programme, which, most notably, has provided duty-free treatment to a range of travel goods (including luggage, backpacks, handbags and pocket goods such as wallets) from all eligible suppliers since 1 July 2017. Apparel and footwear products, by contrast, remain excluded from the programme.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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