PTI: GSP renewal will empower American negotiators with India: Alliance for Fair Trade with India

Welcoming the renewal of a programme which allows most Indian imports to enter the US duty free, a trade advocacy group has said it will empower Americans negotiators against their Indian counterparts as part of the Omnibus Spending Bill. US President Donald Trump signed the legislation to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Programme last week as part of the Omnibus Spending Bill.

“GSP renewal will help empower the US Trade Representative (USTR) and other US negotiators as they sit down with India’s representatives at upcoming commercial discussions,” the Alliance for Fair Trade with India said.

Commending the Congress and Trump for the renewal, the AFTI said the GSP supports the USTR efforts on pending petitions brought by industries that face challenging market conditions and trade barriers.

“AFTI and its members support and commend USTR efforts to engage and address the issues at hand and also calls on India to step up and act to address the issues as well,” a media statement said.

The AFTI said the renewal of the highlighted the importance of the India-US economic relationship.

India is the largest recipient of GSP benefits.

“As such, Congress and the White House are empowering their India trade team to assess India’s compliance with the GSP Program and make real, tangible progress on the many challenging issues US companies face in India,” AFTI said.

Introduced in 1976, a wide range of industrial and agricultural products originating from certain developing countries are given preferential access to American markets.

In India’s case, it enables duty-free entry of 3,500 product lines, which benefits exporters of textiles, engineering, gems and jeweler and chemical products.

According to the USTR, the total US imports under GSP in 2017 was USD 21.2 billion, of which India was the biggest beneficiary with USD 5.6 billion, followed by Thailand (USD4.2 billion) and Brazil (USD 2.5 billion).

The programme has now been renewed through December 31, 2020.

While legislation to renew the GSP was enacted on March 23rd, the effective date of renewal is April 22, 2018. GSP-eligible entries will enter the US duty-free on, and after, April 22, 2018.

Because the GSP programs renewal is retroactive, importers may seek refunds of duties paid during the lapse of GSP authorization, USTR said in a statement.

In accordance with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) instructions, importers who marked their GSP-eligible articles after January 1, 2018, with the applicable special program indicator (SPI) for GSP (“A” or “A+”) will receive automatic duty refunds without interest.

In addition, for GSP-eligible articles that entered the US during the lapse of GSP authorization without SPI code ‘A’, importers may request a GSP duty refund request to CBP.