Attention Importers: GSP Deadline Approaches

On Wednesday, June 28, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the petitioning deadlines for the upcoming annual product review under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 5, 2006 -- On Wednesday, June 28, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the petitioning deadlines for the upcoming annual product review under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). This provides an opportunity for the members of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) to petition for duty-free GSP treatment of any sporting goods articles that are currently dutiable and not already GSP-eligible. Alternatively, members can petition for GSP eligibility to be terminated with respect to products that are currently accorded GSP treatment.

Members of SGMA should remember that GSP benefits are limited to the program's 140+ beneficiary developing countries. This list of countries does not include China and some other major sporting goods suppliers. Also, footwear and apparel articles are barred by statute from GSP eligibility.

The deadline for filing petitions requesting that products be added to, or removed from, GSP eligibility is Thursday, July 20. This is a tight deadline for prospective petitioners given the substantial information that must be included in a GSP petition. Member companies considering prospective GSP petitions are encouraged to consult SGMA for further background regarding the informational requirements and the overall GSP review process.

The USTR has established a later deadline of Friday, November 17 for petitions requesting product-specific waivers of the GSP program's competitive need limits. A waiver allows a beneficiary country to continue to receive duty-free treatment on an article even if its exports exceed a certain dollar value ($125 million for 2006) or 50% of total U.S. imports of the product.

Any changes in GSP eligibility resulting from petitions granted in the upcoming review will take effect on July 1, 2007. In the meantime, it is important for SGMA members to remember that Congress will need to pass legislation renewing the GSP program's overall statutory authority beyond its current expiration date -- December 31, 2006.

SGMA members seeking further information regarding the GSP program should contact Bill Sells, SGMA's Director of Government Relations, at 202-349-9417 or bsells@sgma.com.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, owner of the Sports Research Partnership, is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA enhances industry vitality and fosters sports, fitness, and active lifestyle participation. More information about SGMA can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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