Last week, the House passed GSP renewal legislation by a vote of 400-2. Though Senate procedural rules make a stand-alone vote in the Senate unlikely, the expected result would be similar. (The last Senate vote was 97-1.) Despite overwhelming support in the House and Senate – and Administration support for a 3-year renewal – American companies and workers continue to suffer while waiting for GSP renewal.
Take Montana Fly Company (MFC) in Columbia Falls, Montana, a town of about 5,000 people between Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park. MFC imports artificial fishing flies from Cambodia that face tariffs of 9% without GSP. High tariff rates mean high expiration costs for MFC, which generally saves between $10,000 and $20,000 per month from GSP. Adam Trina, MFC Founder and President, had this to say about the lapse in GSP benefits:
GSP expiration immediately impacted Montana Fly’s business. Fishing season is over and as a seasonal business, cash flows are extremely important. All resources must go toward daily operations and the building of inventory for the following season. We laid off 3 workers here in Montana, one from higher-level management and 2 mid-level employees. We also had to let go 8 people in Cambodia.
We need to find more areas to cut as our total duty in 2018 will be around $200,000. Due to the duration of the previous GSP expiration, we can’t afford to wait around hoping GSP renewal will get passed, so we have taken and are taking immediate action.
For MFC, which had 27 US employees in late 2017, the layoffs represent about 10% of its workers. Large companies may have the financial resources to absorb tariff costs while waiting for Congress to act, but that is not feasible for small businesses like Montana Fly. It simply isn’t possible to come up with $10,000 to $20,000 a month without cutting back significantly in other places, such as as payroll.
The longer Congress waits to act, the more uncertainty and disruption it causes for companies and workers alike.
Is GSP expiration similarly impacting your company? If so, let us know how by completing this form. As always, no company-specific information will be published without explicit permission.