Welcome to Renew GSP Today

Thanks for stopping by to check out our website about the GSP trade program.  Despite a “long-term” renewal in 2011, the GSP program expired on July 31, 2013. As a result, American companies now face an estimated $2 million per day in new taxes.

If you’re one of those companies paying higher taxes, be sure to get engaged in GSP renewal by:

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And Even More Companies Speak Out on Why Congress Needs to Renew GSP

Last week we wrote (here and here) about what companies were telling congressional offices about the need to renew GSP. We’ve been copied on many more emails since, so below are some more examples of what companies are saying. After Friday, Congress will adjourn for 5 full weeks, so if you haven’t done so already be sure to use our Senate and House contact pages to let Congress know why GSP renewal matters to you!

Chinese competition trying to take advantage of GSP expiration: “We import from Thailand and have paid $625,000 in higher taxes because GSP expired. Our competition comes from China and Indonesia and we have no choice but to reduce margin $625,000 which will hit the bottom line. This is a substantial hit for us and has made us less competitive in the market. The Chinese suppliers know the situation and have reduced prices additionally to make it most difficult for us to compete in the US. We have had no option but to compete by lowering prices while also paying the additional tax. This has been and will continue to present a unique hardship for our company unless the GSP renewal bill is presented and passed. Through our operations we support many other businesses such as the custom’s brokers, storage warehouses, and truckers that we utilize for every sale we make. These companies are also suffering due to this program expiration.”

Forced to choose layoffs instead of expansion: “We have paid over $400,000 in GSP tariffs. This has really stunted our company’s growth. We are unable to expand our business and have reduced the number of employees we have.”

Non-retroactive renewal risks the entire business: “Our company is relying on the retroactive renewal of this bill.  We import all our finished goods from Indonesia and Thailand.  If this bill is not passed, the future of our business is at risk.  I fear we will all lose our jobs.”

Expiration hurts US hiring and fair trade mission: “We have paid $30,000 in duties over the last year for our handmade, artisan made items that used to be duty-free. These fees have become paralyzing for our business. If this issue lies dormant until November, we will likely pay another $15-$20k in duties – which is huge for our small company, and it has effected cash flow, purchasing volumes, hiring for our US business, and the loss of margin has effected our overall viability. We already operate on very tight margins and these fees have made our situation so much worse.  It has been very hard to continue our mission to create opportunity and do good through ethical purchasing with the non-renewal of GSP.”

Every penny counts for small start ups: “I import home décor, jewelry and apparel items from Bali and India and have paid $900 in higher taxes because GSP expired.  My company is a start-up LLC and every penny impacts my company’s success.”

These are the types of things Congress needs to hear about the impacts of GSP expiration, so again: if you haven’t done so already please use our Senate and House contact pages to let Congress know why GSP renewal matters to you!

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Tell Congress to Renew GSP Before the August Recess!

Today is the last “Tariff Tuesday” before Congress takes a 5-week recess. In fact, starting next week Congress will only be in DC to legislate for 3 of the next 15 weeks. So we need as many contacts as possible to let them know how important it is – whatever issues might stand in the way – to renew GSP before taking the rest of the summer off.

If you haven’t participated I any of the past tariff Tuesdays, here are the original instructions.

If you have participated before, this post has suggested follow up questions.

Everyone can take some inspiration from posts here and here, or you can tell offices what adjourning without renewal means for you company:

- how much will you pay in import taxes in August if GSP is not renewed?
– how much might you pay in import taxes if GSP renewal slips until mid-November (i.e. after the elections)?
- what types of impacts (e.g., layoffs, capital expenditure delays, etc.) mightcontinued taxes have on your company?

You can also find office phone numbers on our Senate and House contact pages if you’d prefer to call.

Finally, if you have colleagues at other companies impacted by GSP renewal, please forward this page (and the supporter list signup if they’re not on there already) and let them know how important these contacts are.

The clock is running out and Congress needs to know that their actions – or lack thereof – have a real impact on constituents. Now let’s go make some contacts!

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600 American Companies Now Calling on Congress to Renew GSP

With the addition last night of several companies in Michigan, New York, and Tennessee, there are now 600 American companies and associations calling on Congress to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

Swift legislative action is more important than ever: after August 1 the Congress is likely to be in session for just 3 of the next 15 weeks. If GSP renewal slips until after the November elections, companies will pay at least another $200 million in unnecessary taxes on top of the $650+ million paid to date.

Who are those companies? They are geographically diverse – based in 44 states and 275 congressional districts (plus DC and Puerto Rico). About 80 percent are small businesses, with the typical company employing 15 American workers, but a number of Fortune 500 companies are impacted as well. And the companies on the list are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to those likely impacted by GSP expiration.

If you’re not on the supporter list yet, please add your name here. Be sure to also use our Senate and House contact pages to let your Members of Congress know that GSP renewal is “must-pass” legislation before the August recess.

Finally, join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #renewGSP – we’ll be sure to retweet and encourage others to as well!. You can also click below to tweet any/all of the following messages:



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More Companies Speak Out on Why Congress Needs to Renew GSP

Yesterday, we posted some examples of what companies are telling their Senators and Representatives about how GSP expiration impacts them. Here are several more examples to inspire any companies out there that haven’t let their Member of Congress know about why GSP renewal is so important!

Workers laid off and can’t plan for the future: “We’re a small family owned food importer and distributor that used to employ 9 and now employs only 7 as a direct result of this issue. GSP countries are a main resource for many of our products, and our company has so far spent almost $40 thousand in unnecessary taxes. It puts an obvious strain on our cash flow, eats up a big chunk of our company’s annual income, and the worst part – leaves us in a state of limbo as we try to price our items for resale and compete with larger food distributors.”

Reduced profitability, competitiveness prevent further employment growth: “In 20 years, we have gone from just 5 employees to 12 direct employees plus 15 outside sales reps. These are high paying jobs with good benefits – we pay an average salary of over $50,000 per year including 100% of the medical insurance premiums for our employees and we have a 401(k) with matching funds. The expiration of the GSP program has severely hampered our profitability, our competitiveness and our ability to create further employment here. My company is paying, on average, almost $100,000 per month in new import duties, which comes directly out of our pockets and our employees’ pockets and therefore out of our local economy.”

Increased taxes divert resources from other priorities: “We are a small, family owned company that was founded in 1940. Since 1963, we have evolved from a small trading company to an international import, sales and marketing company. Still being a small company with 37 employees, a large tax increase is detrimental to our growth. The money currently being taken in the duty rates could be put towards raises, bonuses, new offices, or new personnel for extra help.”

Imports taxes add to cash-flow problems for start-up manufacturers: “We are a start-up manufacturing company that has used GSP as a way to lower our cost to the consumer in the US in a tight economy, compete against our multi-billion dollar competitors and Chinese importers, and to employ New Yorkers in meaningful jobs. As of this date we have paid $225,000 in unnecessary taxes that would offset cash flow issues of our young company (financing, especially banks, is extremely difficult for under $10MM companies). Without this relief in the near future we certainly see no new hiring and in fact will likely contract the size of our company. Knowing the number of US companies dependent on our little company (warehouse, trucking, shipping, design, advertising, PR, etc) multiplied by the 580+ other companies effected gives a sense of the impact of this legislation.”

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Companies Speak Out: Why Congress Needs to Renew GSP

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been copied on hundreds of emails to congressional staff about the importance of renewing GSP before the August recess. Each company has a different story to tell, but here are a few direct quotes (with company-identifying information  removed) provided over the last few days.

If you haven’t let your Members of Congress know why GSP is renewal is important, let these serve as an inspiration to use our Senate and House contact pages to share your story!

Key inputs are not available in the United States: “We are one of the last remaining US manufacturers in our industry. We have utilized all of the technological innovations available to us to remain competitive in our field. We employ 125 people in our factory. One of the inputs we use from overseas is no longer available domestically, and we count on GSP to help maintain our viability as a manufacturer. We have paid a total of $34,147.75 in duties since GSP expired.”

New workers cannot be hired: “Over the last year I have paid over $110,000.00 in extra duties for products that we cannot afford to raise prices on. Our busy season is around the corner and instead of looking to hire more people, I’m looking for ways to cut expenses.”

Products are losing out to imports from China: “Losing out to the Chinese My company alone has paid over $100,000 in these taxes in the past year. We are a $20mm company, so $100,000 off the bottom line is a substantial hit for us. My main supplier from India was here to visit last month, and a large part of our conversation revolved around the extra cost of the taxes making us less competitive against Chinese imports.”

Impacts of lost sales reach far beyond the importer: “Since the GSP expiration on July 31st, 2013 – we have paid an additional $131,440.35 in taxes. This has been a loss of approximately 16% in gross profit for our company. For a small business, these changes can have a substantial impact. The GSP program allowed us to keep our prices low and competitive in our market. Since the expiration of GSP, we have had to raise our prices to cover the additional costs and therefore have lost customers and market share. Our business also supports many other businesses such as the custom’s brokers, storage warehouses, and truckers that we utilize for every sale we make. In addition to our on-site employees, we also utilize a network of independent sales representatives in six states. State-run ports in Virginia, Georgia, and Texas are also fundamental to our operation.”

These are the types of detail that can make GSP expiration “real” (or at least relatable) for congressional staff that likely do not have direct importing experience. So if you haven’t already, please take a moment to tell your Senators and Representatives how GSP expiration impacts you!

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It’s Tuesday…Have YOU Told Congress to Renew GSP?

It’s Tuesday. That means we need as many companies as possible to contact their Senators and Representatives about the importance of renewing GSP before the August recess!

If this is your first go-round for Tariff Tuesdays, check out the instructions here and then fire off some emails.

If you have participated, please follow up with your previous contacts for an update. That could be:

  • an update on your end (e.g., this post shows a number of companies that could say “we’ve paid $XX,XXX in new taxes in the last week”) or
  • asking for an update from them (e.g., have you spoken to your boss/committee staff/leadership about what’s happening with GSP renewal?).

If you hear back from staff, please let us know!

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One Day of GSP Expiration – Who Paid the Price on July 17?

We frequently note that each day of GSP expiration costs American importers nearly $2 million in additional taxes. We also highlight the diverse GSP importers that are on the supporter list. But we don’t know how many other GSP importers might be paying those taxes on any given day.

So we decided to conduct an experiment: we downloaded all of the Panjiva import records from GSP beneficiary countries for the most recent day available (Thursday, July 17) and examined each shipment to see if the company (likely) paid unnecessary taxes because Congress has failed to renew the program.

We found nearly 100 companies that likely paid taxes on that one day (full list after the jump) based in 24 states. The vast majority of them are not on the GSP supporter list – including some pretty BIG companies – meaning the constituent impacts are much greater than we have been able to highlight. At least they’re not on the list yet…we hope anyone that sees their company below will add it here.

Even this list significantly understates the actual number of companies that likely paid higher taxes last Thursday. That’s because we were conservative in identifying “likely GSP shipments.” For example, we skipped over all records that named a shipping company as the importer of record as well as records with vague product descriptions such as “granite” or “foodstuffs.” These are both major GSP imports, but GSP-eligibility depends on the type of granite and foodstuffs. Finally, there were about 4 times as many shipment records for July 16 as for July 17…would we have found 4 times as many companies had we chosen one day earlier? (We’d still be reviewing them, but may undertake that effort at a later date!)

So while far from perfect, here is the partial list of companies that likely got stuck paying higher taxes on July 17: Continue reading

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