With the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate behind us (for at least a couple months), Congress needs to turn its attention back to another outstanding issue: the renewal of the GSP trade program.

GSP has now been expired for 82 days. When GSP expired in 2011, American companies paid an estimated $2 million per day in unanticipated taxes, meaning that the current expiration has likely cost American employers more than $160 million.

Take Touchstone Crystal in Cranston, Rhode Island. GSP expiration cost the small business $4,000 in August and another $8,000 in September. Does Congress really want to raise costs on small businesses in a state whose unemployment rate in August was 9.1 percent?

Exopack, which manufactures paper, plastics, and other packaging materials in nine states, is also hurt by GSP expiration, which is costing the company more than $40,000 a month in new taxes on imports of certain resins and films. Including its corporates offices, the company operates in five of the seven states with the highest unemployment rates (Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, California, and Michigan). According to Virag Patel, Exopack’s Vice President of International Business, GSP expiration could threaten these operations:

“Our ability to procure enough capacity for certain raw materials depends on a competitive and reliable supply chain from GSP countries. Not having GSP will significantly alter or cease our ability to service the US market.”

Touchstone Crystal and Exopack are just two of the 360 U.S. companies and associations that have urged Congress to renew GSP as quickly as possible.* The reason is simple: every day that GSP remains expired means more unnecessary taxes paid and less money to invest in their businesses and workers.

It’s time for Congress to get to work on GSP renewal so that American employers can stop worrying about higher taxes today and instead focus on investing in the future.

*If you’re a company or association impacted by GSP expiration and you are not yet on the GSP supporter list, please add your name here. If you are on the list, help us spread the word by sending that link to colleagues at organizations that may be affected as well.