ANNOUNCEMENT 31 Dec 2009In December 2009, the government of the United States of America announced a change in import duties.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Full details on the status of the bill are available via http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:h.r.04284:.
The authorizations for two preferential trade programs that extend duty-free treatment to U.S. imports from developing countries were due to expire on December 31, 2009 unless new legislation was approved to renew the programs. Both houses of Congress approved a bill to achieve this end, which President Obama signed into law just days before the programs expired.
At issue were the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA). The GSP extends duty-free treatment to many items imported from developing countries, but excludes many sensitive sectors that face higher tariffs (e.g., textile and apparel, glass products, etc.). The ATPA covers virtually all products imported from the two remaining beneficiary countries (i.e., Colombia and Ecuador).
On December 14, 2009 the House of Representatives approved a bill (designated as H.R.4284) that would renew the authorizations for both programs through December 31, 2010. The bill would not make any substantive changes in either the GSP or the ATPA, but it is expected that Congress might consider reforms to both programs in 2010. The Senate then approved the bill by unanimous consent on December 22, 2009. The bill became law after it was signed by President Obama on December 28, 2009.
If the programs had not been not renewed before January 1, 2010 many imports from GSP and ATPA beneficiary countries that might otherwise enter on a duty-free basis would have been subject to duties on a most-favored-nation basis.