Four members of the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means have introduced legislation to renew the Generalized System of Preferences through September 2015, before the current program expires on July 31, 2013.
The GPS program provides preferential duty-free entry for a variety of goods and inputs from designated developing countries.
H.R. 2709 is sponsored by Dave Camp, R-Mich., committee chairman; Sandy Levin, D-Mich., ranking member; Devin Nunes, R-Calif., trade subcommittee chairman; and Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., trade subcommittee ranking member.
“Through GSP, we can help developing countries enjoy the benefits of trade while also requiring that countries meet basic eligibility criteria that help shape the terms of trade and ensure that its benefits are more broadly shared,” Levin said in a written statement. “GSP provides benefits in the United States as well, with provisions to ensure complementarity and with most GSP imports being used as inputs for products made here.”
The National Retail Federation has applauded the bill and urged Congress to pass it:
“With only two weeks left until GSP is set to expire, it is imperative that Congress move on this important trade priority, which benefits developing nations around the world and U.S. jobs, businesses and consumers,” said David French, NRF’s senior vice president. “If Congress fails to extend GSP before the deadline, American retailers, mostly small- and medium-sized businesses, will face an extra $2 million per day in new taxes on everyday goods and inputs, like jewelry and sporting goods, which will translate into higher costs and prices for consumers.”
“I’ve introduced this bipartisan legislation to demonstrate that the House is ready to move this bill as soon as the Senate also demonstrates that it has a credible path forward,” Camp said. “We cannot allow this bill to be bogged down by amendments, and I urge the Senate to act quickly on a clean bill.”
The Senate has repeatedly used a procedure to bypass the legislation and hold it at the Senate desk. Upon House passage of identical legislation, the House bill is sent over to the Senate and is “deemed passed” without further action by the Senate.