On August 10th, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) initiated its annual review of a program that extends duty-free treatment to producers in 120 designated developing countries and examines whether certain countries are doing enough to maintain their GSP eligibility because of country practices. More specifically, the USTR announced its initiation of the 2017 Annual Generalized System of Preferences (“GSP”) Product and Country Practices Review in the August 11th Federal Register; see link here.

The USTR promotes the GSP program as providing opportunities for many of the world’s developing countries to use trade to grow their economies and climb out of poverty. This program can also help U.S. manufacturers source affordable components from GSP countries. “GSP is especially important to U.S. small businesses, many of which rely on the programs’ duty savings to stay competitive.” See link here.

A hearing has been set at the USTR in Washington, D.C. for September 26th and 27th with prehearing and posthearing comments being due by September 12th and October 17th respectively. Petitions to modify the list of articles eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP and new petitions to review the GSP status of any beneficiary developing country are due by October 17th. The USTR will announce decisions on the petitions accepted for review, along with an opportunity to provide comments, at a later date.