A bipartisan group of 44 House members sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today expressing their “strong desire to see GSP eligibility for India reinstated.” The United States terminated India’s eligibility under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) on June 5. The letter was led by Congressmen Jim Himes (D-CT) and Ron Estes (R-KS). It was signed by 26 Democrats and 18 Republicans, showing the strong, bipartisan support for reinstating GSP benefits for imports from India.
The letter suggests an “early harvest” approach that “would ensure that long-sought market access gains for U.S. industries are not held up by negotiations over remaining issues.” President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet on September 22 in Houston and the two sides hope to announce a potential deal on longstanding trade issues, including GSP.
“Companies are telling Congress about the American costs – both in dollars and jobs – of lost GSP eligibility for India,” said Dan Anthony, Executive Director of the Coalition for GSP. “The letter shows Congress’ strong, bipartisan support for swift action to reinstate GSP for India and to help constituents that depend on two-way trade.”
While GSP often is seen as a benefit to foreign countries, it is American businesses and workers that have suffered most from GSP termination to date. Despite facing higher tariffs due to lost GSP, imports from India of (previously) GSP-eligible products increased over 40% in June/July 2019 compared to a year earlier, likely the result of companies shifting sourcing away from China.
“Indian exporters are thriving while American companies are stuck paying $1 million a day in new tariffs,” added Anthony.
The letter notes that costs of GSP termination “are real for our constituents and growing every day.” The Coalition for GSP’s latest data shows that loss of GSP for India cost American companies about $30 million in July.
In addition to Himes and Estes, other signatories included Representatives Mark Amodei (NV-02), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Peter King (NY-02), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Lance Gooden (TX-05), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Cedric Richmond (LA-02), Susie Lee (NV-03), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), A. Drew Ferguson, IV (GA-03), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Abigail D. Spanberger (VA-07), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Mike Levin (CA-36), Mike Kelly (PA-16), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-7), Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), Pete Olson (TX-22), Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Scott Peters (CA-52), Steve Chabot (OH-01), Brad R. Wenstrup (OH-02), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Norma J. Torres (CA-35), F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI-05), Mike Quigley (IL-05), James Comer (KY-01), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), and J. Luis Correa (CA-46).