GSP Lulled to Sleep By Sleeping Bag Dispute
GSP Lulled to Sleep By Sleeping Bag Dispute – Potential Loss of $577 Million Savings and American Jobs
(New Orleans, Louisiana) – April 19, 2011 –
The delay in GSP reinstatement is already hurting American businesses, small and large. Con-Tech International, sheet steel importer based in New Orleans, Louisiana, reports awaiting refunds of more than $65,000 from Q1 2011 from Brazilian product tariffs that were previously duty-free under the GSP. They have had to resume paying Duty on the lapsed GSP since January 1, 2011.
Sheet steel importers, and many other categories of businesses, depend upon the U.S. Generalized System of Preference (GSP) to promote $20 billion per year in business. Qualified imports into the U.S. under this program, initiated in the 1970's, have resulted in economic growth in developing countries by granting those eligible products duty-free treatment until their exporters are able to compete on world markets. As it has happened before, the GSP was again disrupted December 31, 2010, this time caused by a stalemate that ensued between Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) when the program went before Congress for another renewal.
According to a January 2011 Politico report (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/48154.html), Senator Sessions acted on behalf of Exxel Outdoors. “New competition from bags made in Bangladesh, which are imported tariff free under the GSP program, has cut into Exxel’s profits, and Sessions wanted to remove most sleeping bags from the program…McConnell is a supporter of the GSP program and hoped to see it renewed without exemptions.”
This congressional stalemate over sleeping bags could affect 82000 jobs. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative explains the critical effect on American jobs and companies, “The longer the GSP program is not operational the greater the impact will be on the competitiveness of the thousands of American businesses that rely on the duty-exemption these programs provide.” GSP-eligible goods support more than 82,000 American jobs according to a 2005 U.S. Chamber of Commerce study. As savings that totaled nearly $577 million in 2009 are lost, American manufacturers will certainly be forced to make tough economic decisions, which could include the loss of American jobs, higher consumer pricing, or severed relationships with developing countries.
President of Con-Tech International, Robbie Evans, remains proactive in what continues to be a challenging situation. As a sheet steel importer, the company continues their alliance with Brazil in the hope of government reimbursement should the program renew. Con-Tech International is a member of the Coalition for GSP, firms and their workers who use GSP, alongside companies like Target Corporation and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The most recent Coalition for GSP letter to Congress (http://www.tradepartnership.com/pdf_files/CoalitionforGSPLetterHR6517.pdf) is available for viewing online.
To find out more about the U.S. Generalized System of Preference (GSP), visit http://www.ustr.gov/trade-topics/trade-development/preference-programs/generalized-system-preference-gsp and the National Legal Law Center (http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/97-389.pdf) article from 2006 in favor of GSP during the lapse at that time.
Robbie Evans, President
1046 Annunciation St., New Orleans, LA 70130 USA
Container Technology International- Three divisions: Steel disc imports for the steel drum industry; import & distribution of steel and stainless steel drum closures and accessories; supplier of custom manufactured metal & plastic parts used in several industries and applications, including marine hardware, hose fittings, beer keg fittings, ball valves, and many others. Manufacturing expertise in casting, machining, stamping, fabrication, and assembly, as well as import logistics as part of an overall global sourcing package available to OEMs.
Robbie Evans, President
1046 Annunciation St., New Orleans, LA 70130 USA
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