When you look at a list of U.S. tariff codes, it’s often hard to visualize the products being described.  One exception is U.S. harmonized tariff schedule (HTS) number 4202.92.04:

“Insulated beverage bag w/outer surface textiles, interior only flexible plastic container storing/dispensing beverage thru flexible tubing.”

To outdoor enthusiasts and fans of The Office alike, that description is unmistakable…we’re talking about a CamelBak.

In the last five years, about $31 million worth of CamelBak-like hydration systems have entered the United States duty free under GSP, primarily from the Philippines.  GSP saved importers more than $2 million.  When imported from non-GSP countries (or when Congress allows GSP to expire, like today) these products face tariff rates of 7 percent.

In 2009, the California-based company joined with nearly 50 companies and associations by signing a letter to Congress urging the immediate renewal of the GSP program, and Congress did indeed pass a short GSP extension that year.  Despite nearly 100 companies and associations signing a similar letter in 2010, Congress allowed GSP to expire, which raises the question: how many companies will need to speak up in 2011 before Congress renews GSP?