UPDATE: It looks like the bill has now been introduced, and Ways and Means has made the full text available here. Further, in good news for importers affected by the lapse of GSP, the bill authorizes CBP to reliquidate all affected entries from July 31, 2013 onward, regardless of their current liquidation status. However, in order to qualify for retroactive treatment, importers will need to provide CBP with sufficient information to identify affected entries within 180 days of the passage of the bill.
Hot on the heels of yesterday’s “fast-track” Trade Promotion Authority bill, certain trade press outlets reported that House Ways and Means and Senate Finance introduced a bill to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), extend the about-to-expire African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), and expand the United States’ trade relations with Haiti. But despite a House Ways and Means press release indicating introduction of the bill, the actual text has yet to surface, and a call over to the Committee’s press office confirmed that the bill—while evidently nearing final form— has not yet been introduced.
According to a summary accompanying the press release, the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015 would extend the import duty reductions under AGOA, otherwise due to expire in September, for an additional ten years. The bill would also loosen the current origin rules under AGOA, potentially allowing a greater number of manufacturers and importers to take advantage of AGOA’s duty savings.
The bill also includes an extension through December 31, 2017 for GSP. Notably, the bill also provides for retroactive relief, which will come as welcome news to the large number of U.S. manufacturers and importers that have faced additional Customs bills since the GSP expired in July of 2013.
The bill also stands to expand our trade relations with Haiti by extending existing economic assistance programs through 2025.
We’ll keep our eyes out for the actual text, with particular interest as to whether the text authorizes CBP to disregard liquidation status in retroactively approving GSP claims. Given the two-year lapse of the GSP, such authority will be integral to meaningful retroactive relief for many in the import community.