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.
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!