Coalition for GSP Executive Director Dan Anthony released the following statement regarding Congress’ failure to reauthorize the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which expires on December 31, 2020, as part of the Omnibus spending package:
American businesses are incredibly frustrated and disappointed that Congress failed to renew GSP, which has enjoyed near unanimous support in the past. We know what to expect next based on past GSP lapses: Americans workers will lose jobs during a recession; Americans workers will lose critical benefits like health insurance during a pandemic, and American companies will cancel job-creating investments.
Hundreds of American companies and associations committed to work with congressional leaders on changes to the GSP program that would improve its effectiveness as a development program, such as changes to eligibility criteria. Despite no public discussions to consider changes since Congress last renewed GSP in 2018, some Members of Congress were unwilling to support a short-term extension to protect American companies and workers from nearly $3 million per day in harmful tariffs while such talks proceed in the next Congress.
The Coalition will work with 117th Congress on a swift, retroactive GSP renewal that minimizes the harm to GSP program users, particularly small businesses. Even if Congress passes a “retroactive” renewal that refunds tariffs paid, as it has in the past, many negative impacts from GSP expiration cannot be undone. The urgency to renew GSP will grow with each passing day, especially for the many GSP users struggling to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and related economic fallout.
The Coalition for GSP is a group of American companies and trade associations organized to educate policy makers and others about the important benefits to American companies, workers, and consumers of the GSP program. Coalition members range from small, family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 corporations and operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Small businesses are the backbone of the Coalition for GSP, whose typical member has about 20 employees and saves $100,000 to $200,000 per year due to GSP benefits.
GSP renewal has a long history of bipartisan support that should have made extension achievable:
- The last House vote on GSP passed 400-2 in 2018, with strong statements of support from (now) Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady
- The last Senate vote on GSP passed 97-1 in 2015, again with strong statements of support from Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden and (then) Chairman Orrin Hatch.