According to new data released last week, American companies imported $18.5 billion worth of GSP-eligible products in 2013. GSP should have reduced taxes on those companies by nearly $700 million. Instead, companies had to pay about $280 million in higher taxes because Congress allowed GSP to expire on July 31.

TRInternational, Inc. (TRI), a global wholesaler of industrial chemicals headquartered in Seattle, is just one of the companies forced to pay higher tariffs because of Congressional inaction. In the 20 years TRI has been in business, it has made the Puget Sound Business Journal’s “Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Businesses in Washington State” list on three separate occasions. Yet the absence of GSP has cost the company more than $50,000 in higher customs duties.

As noted by Executive Vice President Jeff Wright: “On an annual basis, that’s 1-2 more new hires that TRI could be employing to help our growing company and the Puget Sound region.”

Similar impacts are felt throughout the country. Companies in 32 states (plus Puerto Rico) paid at least $1 million in unexpected taxes in the first 5 months of GSP expiration. TRI is just one of the nearly 500 American companies and associations now calling on Congress to pass an immediate, retroactive GSP renewal.

Many companies have used our House and Senate contact pages to explain the impacts of GSP expiration to their representatives here in Washington. If you’re being hurt, you should contact them too! The question is, will Congress listen?