USTR statement on GSP Enforcement

USTR statement on GSP Enforcement

Below is an excerpt from the statement provided by The Office of the United States Trade Representative. The complete press release can be found on their website here.

"USTR Announces GSP Enforcement Actions and Successes for Seven Countries

10/25/2019

Washington, D.C. – The Office of the United States Trade Representative announced today that President Donald J. Trump is suspending $1.3 billion in trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) based on its failure to adequately provide  internationally-recognized worker rights.  In addition, the President is restoring some GSP benefits for Ukraine following its passage of legislation aimed at addressing shortcomings in its intellectual property (IP) regime.

USTR also announced it is opening new GSP eligibility reviews for two countries:  South Africa, based on IP protection and enforcement concerns, and Azerbaijan, based on worker rights concerns.  USTR also is closing GSP eligibility reviews with no loss of GSP eligibility for three countries:  Bolivia and Iraq, based on improvements in the protection of worker rights in those countries, and Uzbekistan, based on improvements in its protection and enforcement of IP rights.

USTR also announced the results of the annual GSP product review. Decisions on product petitions can be viewed here.

Background

Today’s announcement represents the culmination of three separate processes under the GSP program: (a) determinations on ongoing GSP eligibility reviews, and (b) regular assessments of beneficiary developing countries, combined with public comment opportunities, to determine whether to launch new GSP eligibility reviews, and (c) the annual GSP product review.

Outcomes of Ongoing Country Eligibility Reviews

Thailand: Despite six years of engagement, Thailand has yet to take steps to provide internationally recognized worker rights in a number of important areas identified in a 2015 petition from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), such as providing protections for freedom of association and collective bargaining.  GSP eligibility will be revoked effective six months from today for approximately one-third of Thailand’s GSP trade, which totaled $4.4 billion in 2018.  The list of products to be excluded from GSP for Thailand is focused on products for which the United States is a relatively important market for Thailand, but where Thailand accounts for a relatively small share of U.S. imports.  Additionally, due to longstanding worker rights issues in the seafood and shipping industries, GSP eligibility will be revoked for all seafood products from Thailand.  A full list of the products to be excluded from GSP for Thailand is available here. The GSP market access eligibility review of Thailand will remain open.

...

USTR will announce dates for a public hearing and comment period for the new and existing GSP country eligibility reviews in an upcoming Federal Register notice.

GSP, the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference program, is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry into the United States for 3,500 products from the 119 designated beneficiary countries and territories.  To remain eligible for these advantages, beneficiary countries must comply with 15 statutory eligibility criteria that are important to U.S. interests, including taking steps to afford internationally recognized labor rights, providing adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights, and assuring equitable and reasonable access to its markets.

For more information on the GSP program, visit the GSP page on the USTR website here."

Related News / Blog