President Barack Obama will begin his annual State of the Union address momentarily. It will touch on a number of issues, includes taxes, foreign policy, education, and yes, even trade. Some proposals will be viewed as partisan, and others will simply be controversial (regardless of party). Many will be DOA in Congress. Yet programs like GSP, which has bipartisan support in Congress and the support of the Administration, are much less likely to come up.

Regardless of the content, it likely will end with a statement about the State of the Union being strong. For GSP importers, that is not so clear. The following examples show just some of the ways the State of the Union could be stronger for GSP importers:

  • despite strong bipartisan support, GSP has remained expired for nearly 18 months;
  • despite no one advocating for tariffs to remain in place, American companies have been forced to pay about $1 billion in higher taxes;
  • despite companies in 290 congressional districts and 45 states urging renewal, there’s been no legislative action to renew GSP in the House or Senate, and
  • despite the clear damage being done to importers by expiration, it remains unclear when GSP might be renewed.

In a strong union for GSP importers, the minor procedural issues that blocked GSP renewal in July 2013 would have been overcome. They certainly would not continue to prevent GSP renewal 18 months later.

There is hope in the new Congress. New Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch made clear this morning that GSP renewal is a priority. We looking forward to working with Chairman Hatch and everyone in the 114th Congress to make this a stronger union for companies that have come to rely on programs like GSP.