North America MapOn March 23, 2018, the President signed into law the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018” which, in addition to authorizing certain full-year federal appropriations, also included the renewal for the Generalized System of Preferences through December 31, 2020. The Generalized System of Preferences (commonly referred to as GSP) allows duty-free entry for over 5,000 goods from a wide range of designated beneficiary countries. The program was authorized by the Trade Act of 1974 to promote economic growth in developing countries and was implemented on January 1, 1976.

Over the years, GSP has expired periodically and must be renewed by Congress in order to remain in effect. The most recent GSP reauthorization which took place in 2015, expired on December 31, 2017.  The current renewal will take effect on April 22, 2018 (30 days after enactment).

Additionally, the recent GSP reauthorization legislation allows for retroactive treatment and will apply to entries made after December 31, 2017 but before the effective date of the Act. Importers will be required to submit a refund request for entries made during the lapse period for which the appropriate special program indicator was not transmitted.  The instructions for applying for such refunds can be found here.

For additional information or questions concerning the GSP program and/or requests for refunds under the new legislation, please contact Cortney Morgan, Stephen Brophy or Robert Stang in Husch Blackwell’s International Trade and Supply Chain practice.