I tried to come up with a funny title (e.g., “Congress should at yeast pass a short-term GSP extension) but nothing jumped out at me, so we went with the simple statement of fact:  American companies conducting cutting-edge research into animal nutrition import GSP-eligible yeast (or similar single-cell organizations).

Most yeast imports under GSP come from Brazil, which sent about $21 million worth of yeast to the United States under the program in 2010.  More than 98.7% of yeasts from Brazil entered under GSP, waiving tariffs ranging from 3.2% to 6.4% and saving importers nearly $1 million.

One such company is Alltech, a worldwide leader in animal nutrition, health and performance that researches yeast and natural enzyme technologies. The company has a large footprint in Kentucky, including global headquarters in Nicholasville, a plant in Springfield, and as of just two weeks ago, a new $200 million production facility in Winchester.  If that weren’t enough, Alltech even has its own golf course and breweryOutside of Kentucky, Alltech has operations in New Mexico, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

AFB International, based in St. Charles, Missouri, has also imported GSP-eligible yeasts and organisms from Brazil.  AFB, whose primary manufacturing facility is located in nearby O’Fallon, Missouri, specializes in “pet food palatability technology.” In other words, they make pet foods and snacks taste better for the animals. It also means their website is full of pictures of cute dogs and cats.

It should come as no surprise that companies like these would take advantage of the GSP program – both Alltech and AFB operate globally.  In addition to American manufacturing cites referenced above,  Alltech has two production facilities in Brazil, while AFB has state-of-the-art production facilities in Brazil and Argentina.

This worldwide presence helps companies like Alltech and AFB remain competitive – and allows them to expand and create goods jobs in place like Kentucky and Missouri.  Yet when Congress allowed GSP to expire, it hurt American companies by cutting them off from their natural suppliers….themselves.  Congress needs to pass a long-term GSP renewal to ensure the American operations of these global companies continue to thrive.