On April 20, 2018, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published in the Federal Register a general notice, which advises importers that CBP will again accept claims for Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) duty-free treatment for merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption and that CBP will process refunds on duties paid, without interest, on GSP-eligible merchandise that was entered during the period that the GSP program was lapsed. The GSP is a renewable preferential trade program that allows the eligible products of designated beneficiary developing countries to enter the United States free of duty. The GSP program expired on December 31, 2017, but has been renewed through December 31, 2020, effective April 22, 2018, with retroactive effect between January 1, 2018, through April 21, 2018, by Section 501, Title V of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. Law 115-141).

Formal and informal entries that were filed electronically via the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) using Special Program Indicator (SPI) Code “A” as a prefix to the tariff number will be automatically processed by CBP and no further action by the filer is required to initiate the refund process. Non-ABI filers, and ABI filers that did not include SPI Code “A” on the entry, must timely submit a duty refund request to CBP. CBP will continue conducting verifications to ensure that GSP benefits are available to eligible entries only.

As of April 22, 2018, the filing of GSP-eligible entry summaries may be resumed without the payment of estimated duties, and CBP will initiate the automatic liquidation or reliquidation of formal and informal entries of GSP-eligible merchandise that was entered on or after January 1, 2018, through April 21, 2018, and filed via ABI with SPI Code “A” notated on the entry. Requests for refunds of GSP duties paid on eligible non-ABI entries, or eligible ABI entries filed without SPI Code “A,” must be filed with CBP no later than September 19, 2018.

Instructions for submitting a request to CBP to liquidate or reliquidate entries of GSP-eligible merchandise that was entered on or after January 1, 2018, through April 21, 2018 but without the SPI Code “A” are located on the CBP website at https://www.cbp.gov/trade/priority-issues/trade-agreements/special-trade-legislation/generalized-system-preferences.