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In an opinion and order issued on August 23, 2017, the Court of International Trade (CIT) rendered a decision that may affect the eligibility of numerous items for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). At issue is the question of whether all of the items in a set of numerous goods need to meet GSP eligibility requirements in order to benefit from this preferential program. In Meyer Corp. v. United States the court reviewed the GSP-eligibility of cookware sets imported from Thailand (which is designated for GSP benefits) that include glass lids made in China (which is not) as well as components made in other GSP beneficiary countries. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had argued that an entire set should be considered ineligible for GSP if it contains an item or component that cannot be regarded as a product of a beneficiary country.
The CIT found that under CBP’s argument, preferential treatment would be denied to an article otherwise eligible for GSP simply because it has been put up in sets for retail sale together with articles that are not GSP-eligible. The court also observed that GSP treatment should not be extended to a non-de minimis component from a non-GSP country simply by virtue of its being part of an otherwise GSP-eligible set. The court remanded to CBP for further consideration the question of whether the Thai-produced components in the sets at issue do in fact meet the GSP eligibility criteria.
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