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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Ohio Small Biz: At Least 3 Net Jobs Tied to GSP Refunds

Cannon_Group_Refund_Checks

GSP refund checks received to date by Ohio small business

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The pictures above (or at least the checks in them) are worth SO much more.

The checks are the first GSP refunds for The Cannon Group, a small business in Westerville, Ohio that imports plastic bags for newspapers from Sri Lanka. For nearly 2 years while GSP was expired, the company had to pay higher taxes on every shipment.

Now that money is coming back – one check for each shipment – and is being put to good use.

The Cannon Group plans to add one full-time employee in September and is looking to add at least one new salesperson in the next 6 months. The refunds also saved the job of another employee that would’ve gone away due to the loss of other business. For this Ohio small business, at least 3 net jobs are tied to GSP renewal and refunds.

These moves shouldn’t come as a surprise. President Frank Cannon said nearly a year ago:

“With a loss of $700,000 to our bottom line we cannot afford to hire any new staff. If Congress renews GSP retroactively, we would definitely hire more staff.”

Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) cited the company, based in the district, when introducing the legislation back in April. At the time, Mr. Tiberi said GSP renewal would help companies like The Cannon Group grow their businesses and “ultimately create jobs.”

And he was right. In addition to The Cannon Group, companies like Thompson Traders, Kona Bicycle, and Primetac all are benefiting immediately from GSP renewal.

What steps are you taking now that GSP has been renewed? We want to hear from you! 

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GSP Renewal Immediately Benefiting Companies in the Carolinas

GSP has only been back in effect for a week, but we’re already hearing positive things from companies about the impacts.

Take Thompson Traders in Greensboro, North Carolina, which manufactures and sells hand-hammered copper sinks for kitchens and baths. GSP expiration hit at a terrible time: just as the small but growing company reached a positive cash flow.

This past January, Thompson Traders reported reducing payroll by 8 people because of GSP expiration. Those people accounted for 40 percent of Thompson Traders’ staff. Expansion plans were put on hold. Remaining employees in the profit-sharing plan were affected by lost bonuses and raises. Yet GSP renewal and refunds coming for the extra taxes is changing that.

According to Thompson Traders President Fred Starr, the company is initiating a major new product line in a new market. This is just one part of the company’s plan to reinvest all taxes returned through GSP reinstatement in new business opportunities – all of which means new jobs and higher pay possibilities for its workers.

About a 100 miles west down Route 40 in Hickory, North Carolina, Scott Ferguson of CCS USA is also optimistic. His company  provides precision tooling and die parts to the aerospace industry. According to Scott:

“The reinstatement of the GSP program will save my company $2000 – $3000 or more per week. This will allow us to be much more competitive and build the business to the point that additional employees will be required.”

Down Route 85 from Greensboro, Strategic Sales Partners in Fort Mill, South Carolina saved $7,500 on the first day that GSP went into back into effect. The company works with manufacturers, both in the United States and overseas, to provide sustainable building products such as doors, decking, and fencing.

If your company is benefiting from GSP renewal, we want to hear from you! We love receiving detailed info like that from Thompson Traders (and Primetac and Kona Bicycle previously) and quick notes like those from CCS USA and Strategic Sales Partners alike.

It’s never too early to start building the case for GSP renewal in 2017.

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GSP Renewal Leads to Immediate Hires at Kona Bicycle in Washington

What a difference GSP renewal can make for companies like Kona Bicycle in Ferndale, Washington.

Nearly 30 years old, the independent company still has the same founding owners and a staff of active and impassioned cyclists. Kona describes itself as “a dedicated group of cyclists making bicycles for people who love bikes” – and GSP renewal is allowing that dedicated staff to grow.

Kona has hired two new people since GSP was renewed on June 29: a senior engineer and an industrial designer. Both already started working at the office in Ferndale, despite the fact that GSP didn’t go back into effect until yesterday.

Kona isn’t done with post-GSP renewal hires: it plans to hire a product manager in August. The company also hopes to add a junior engineer during the winter.

The timing is not a coincidence: Kona’s new jobs in Washington were simply waiting for Congress to renew GSP. As Kona’s Chairman Jacob Heilbron said last fall:

“We’re unable to raise prices during our model year so the loss of profit is absorbed into our bottom line. We would like to hire new U.S. based personnel for our R&D/Product Development team but are waiting until GSP is renewed.”

Fortunately, Kona didn’t wait long to act. Like Primetac in Little Ferry, New Jersey, it didn’t even wait for GSP to go back into effect! If your company is taking similar steps (e.g., hiring workers, making job-creating investments, etc.) as a result of GSP renewal, we want to hear from you.

After two years of talking about terrible effects of GSP expiration, GSP users must show the benefits of GSP reinstatement. We cannot afford to wait until 2017 when another expiration is looming…

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Pop the Champagne – GSP Program Goes Back Into Effect!

After nearly two long years of expiration, GSP went back into effect this morning. American companies no longer must pay the import taxes on GSP-eligible products. A cause for celebration indeed!

This should benefit the estimated 1,000+ shipments that claim GSP daily. And when you have a shipment come in that doesn’t face tariffs because of GSP renewal, we’d love if you could email us a quick sentence or two like this:

We had a shipment of chemicals come in from Thailand today. GSP being reinstated saved us $4,500.

No amount is too small and of course, feel free to provide more details if you’d like. (Please also let us know if you’d like to remain anonymous.)

As GSP reinstatement moves forward and you begin to receive refunds for tariffs paid during the expiration, we’d also love to hear from you if your company is taking positive steps (e.g., hiring workers, making job-creating investments, etc.) as a result of GSP renewal. We detailed one such example here.

The next potential GSP expiration will roll around before you know it. The more positive GSP impacts we can show between now and then, the better positioned we’ll be to advocate for renewal.

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The GSP Renewal Post We’ve Been Waiting to Write

This week we received an email from someone at Primetac, a GSP supporter list company in Little Ferry, New Jersey. We’ve been waiting for an email like this for a long time – much too long – so it’s with great pleasure that we get to publish this (and special thanks to the company for allowing us to do so)!

Here is what they wrote (everything in italics is directly quoted):

We are a poster child for the benefits of the GSP program.  Located in New Jersey, just outside of NY City, our company is small but the jobs we have created with the help of the GSP program over the years are well-paying jobs with good benefits such as full health insurance coverage (we pay 100% of the employee’s premium) and 401(k) with matching funds.

We have about 12 employees and we pay commissions to another 12 salespeople (outside contractors) many of whom rely on our company as a primary source of income.  The benefits also extend to the very poor area in Indonesia (Surabaya) where the factory is located, as much needed jobs are provided by the factory which makes our products.

That’s good info, but it gets better. GSP is not even back into effect yet – that won’t happen until July 29 – but Primetac is moving full speed ahead. Here is what the email said in regards to recent/next steps:

1.      We are hiring a VP for sales and marketing to help us to expand our business nationwide.  We have warehouses in 4 states in different parts of the country, so any growth in our sales volume also accrues to those businesses via ripple effect.  Part of the new VP job will be to locate and hire at least 2 additional sales reps in open territories – so 2-3 new positions are being created

2.      We have just contracted for the purchase of a new Forklift from Crown Lift Trucks, an Ohio-based manufacturer of forklift trucks (this truck is manufactured entirely in the US).  Appx cost $26,000.

3.      We are investigating upgrades to the lighting system in our warehouse now that we will have the funds available for such improvements

To recap, GSP renewal is allowing the company to 1) hire new US workers internally, 2) support manufacturing jobs in Ohio through an immediate equipment purchase, and 3) potentially support more manufacturing/New Jersey installation jobs through warehouse upgrades.

My absolute favorite part is the last sentence (emphasis added), which reflects the optimism felt by many, many companies who have been waiting for Congress to renew GSP:

These are new projects just in the 2 weeks since the announcement of renewal…more to follow.

If your company is taking similar steps (e.g., hiring workers, making job-creating investments, etc.) as a result of GSP renewal, we want to hear from you. The next potential GSP expiration will roll around before you know it, and the more we can show the positive GSP impacts between now and then, the better positioned we’ll be to advocate for a seamless renewal.

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With Program Renewed, Here Are the Products that May Lose Benefits on October 1 in the GSP Annual Review

With the President signing the GSP renewal legislation into law in late June, all parts of the GSP program will restart – including the Annual Review process.

The legislation included a provision extending the deadline for the 2014 Annual Review to October 1. While normally the process would take about a year, the three-month timetable means that USTR will conduct a limited review dealing only with items related to the competitive need limit (CNL) thresholds.

Earlier this week, USTR released the details and schedule. Most notably, five products are at risk of losing GSP benefits on October 1:

  • HTS 2008.19.15 from Thailand — Coconuts otherwise prepared or preserved;
  • HTS 7408.29.10 from Thailand — Copper alloys (other than brass, cupro-nickel or nickel-silver), wire, coated or plated with metal;
  • HTS 4412.31.40 from Indonesia — Certain plywood sheets not over 6 mm thick;
  • HTS 7413.00.10 from Turkey — Certain copper, stranded wire;
  • HTS 7413.00.50 from Turkey — Certain copper cables and plaited bands.

If you import any of the products above, we would love to know about it. Given the expedited review schedule, deadlines are very tight and all submissions related to retaining GSP benefits are due by July 31.

Some products are also eligible for reinstatement of GSP benefits (“List III” of this document, starting on page 9). If you import products on the list then you might wish to submit comments in support of reinstatement. Again, if you import any of those products and are interested in trying to get GSP benefits back, please let us know.

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President Obama Signs Bill to Renew GSP

President Obama at the signing ceremony for the Trade Promotion Authority and Trade Preferences Extension legislation.

Earlier today, President Obama signed into law H.R. 1295, which renews GSP and refunds tariffs paid on eligible imports. GSP should enter into effect again on July 29 – almost 2 years to the day since it expired.

This has been a long and challenging period for American companies that rely on the GSP program. We know because we asked and you told us. Repeatedly. And you told your representatives as well, which helped lead to big bipartisan votes in both the Senate and House.

As we move forward, it will be critical to continue these education efforts. In contrast to the last 2 years, companies can talk about all the positive effects stemming from GSP reauthorization – from increasing sales to new investments to hiring (or rehiring) and rewarding workers. These anecdotes will be needed in the next fight to renew GSP. December 2017 will be here sooner than anyone imagines.

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