Background

Effective July 29, 2015, through the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, Congress extended the duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) through December 31, 2017. The GSP originally expired on July 31, 2013. In order to bridge the gap between August 1, 2013, and July 28, 2015, the GSP reauthorization provides retroactive benefits to qualifying goods imported from a GSP beneficiary country during that time period. Accordingly, if you imported dutiable merchandise from a GSP beneficiary country between  August 1, 2013, and July 28, 2015, you may be eligible for a refund of those duties.

Duty Refunds

Recognizing the impact that retroactive GSP renewal and the consequent reliquidations will have on importers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), prior to the July 31, 2013, expiration of GSP, CBP developed a mechanism to “claim” GSP during the lapse period. This mechanism used the Special Program Indicator (SPI) “A,” “A+,” or “A*” as a prefix to the tariff number.

If an Automated Broker Interface (ABI) entry was filed with payment of estimated duties using the GSP SPI, no further action by the filer is required. A prefix of “A,” “A+,” or “A*” is treated as confirming requests for refunds. CBP expects to begin automated processing, via ABI, of these submissions shortly after July 29, 2015.

Although the CBP notice does not specifically address the processing of refunds on entries filed in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) with the appropriate GSP SPI, we expect that the refund process will be similar to the ABI process, with refunds processed automatically after July 29, 2015.

If an ACE entry was filed without using the GSP SPI, retroactive GSP claims must be made via Post-Summary Correction (PSC) within 270 days from the date of entry. This procedure will trigger electronic processing of the refund and avoid the need to file a paper refund request.

If an ABI entry summary was filed without the use of the GSP SPI, filed in ACE outside the 270-day period, or filed by paper, a refund of duties deposited must be requested in writing through the following non-ABI filing procedure:

Filers must request a refund in writing from the Port Director at the port of entry by December 28, 2015.

The request may cover either single-entry summaries or all entry summaries filed by an individual filer at a single port.

To expedite refunds, CBP recommends including the following information in each letter:

  1. A statement requesting a refund per §201 of Title II of the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015;
  2. A list of entry numbers and line items for which refunds are requested; and
  3. The amount of refund requested for each line item and the total amount owed, excluding interest, for all entry summaries.