We recently received the following letter, a variation of which was sent to each member of the Maryland congressional delegation. It shows not only how GSP can help small businesses expand, but also how quickly GSP expiration can wipe out years of growth (emphasis is ours).

If your company is in a similar situation, please be sure to contact your Senators and Representatives and let them know the impact expiration is having on you.

We are a small seafood importing business located in the heart of Columbia, MD. We have been importing frozen shrimp products to local stores and chains since we started in 2001 with a few employees. We have now grown to 25 employees and we are still looking to expand our business in Maryland.

We have strived hard to keep this company afloat by a firm commitment in producing consistent, high quality, and sustainable food products to protect and benefit this community. However, this responsibility comes with a cost. With the added pressure of new tariffs from the expiration of the GSP, it has become too costly for us to continue running in the same operational capacity.

Because we are a small business, the expiration of the GSP is detrimentally affecting our business operations. These new tariffs have already cut into our cash flows and are wiping out our profit. We are striving to create new products in a budding market, but we have already paid $300,000 in tariffs on products that we expected to be duty free.

The consequences of a continued lack of GSP renewal will directly result in employee layoffs as we cannot afford to keep so many employees on board. If the GSP is not renewed, then we will ultimately go out of business and have to close our doors permanently. It will be the end of the road for us as a member of the Maryland business community.

The global economic crisis continues to have a deep impact on our small business. The added burden of the GSP expiration in addition to higher fuel costs, and rising costs in the raw material and sourcing of our products have created a financial pressure so insurmountable that we sincerely need your help. Please make immediate, retroactive GSP renewal a priority.