GSP: Renewed and Retroactive

The Generalized System of Preferences is a program under which the United States provides duty-free treatment to eligible articles imported directly from designated beneficiary developing countries. While the ability to import goods at a zero duty rate is mighty enticing, the legislative authorization is time-limited. Once it expires, otherwise-eligible transactions are subject to duties at the “Normal Trade Relations” (Column 1) rates.

Alas, the previous GSP authorization expired at the end of 2017, forcing importers to cough up the bucks on their entries. Ever eager to right the myriad wrongs plaguing society, Congress included a new GSP authorization as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. The legislation reauthorizes GSP on both go-forward and retroactive basis.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has now announced the administrative details of GSP’s latest resurrection.

First, “GSP duty-free treatment will be applied to eligible articles from designated beneficiary countries that are entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after April 22, 2018 through December 31, 2020.”  Beginning on that date, importers no longer must tender duty deposits for GSP entries.

Second, for eligible “entries made on or after January 1, 2018 through April 21, 2018 . . . to which duty-free treatment would have applied if GSP had been in effect during that time period . . . any duty paid with respect to such entry will be refunded provided that a request for liquidation or reliquidation of that entry, containing sufficient information to enable [CBP] to locate the entry or to reconstruct the entry if it cannot be located, is filed with CBP no later than September 19, 2018 . . .” Such refunds will be paid without interest.

CBP provides further detail on the refund process. Entries made in the refund period that were filed using the Automated Broker Interface as GSP-eligible (“Special Program Indicator “A”) will be automatically liquidated or reliquidated, with no further action required by the importer to commence the refund process. Non-ABI entries, and any electronic entry made without the “A” indicator, will require submission of a request for liquidation or reliquidation by the September 19, 2018 deadline.

Of course, the December 2020 expiration date likely means we’ll go through the same process in two years’ time, but for now, GSP is back on track.



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