Aid Through Trade is a leader in the fair trade fashion industry. Founded in 1993, today it supports over 200 women artisans in Nepal – one of the poorest countries in the world – in addition to its staff in Maryland.
GSP expiration in 2013 had a snowball effect familiar to many small business users of the program: raising prices to cover the new tariffs led to lower sales. Lower sales resulted in less money available to purchase new inventory, which in turn led to even lower sales. Eventually, Aid Through Trade was forced to freeze hiring and delay necessary equipment updates.
All for what many might consider to be modest tariffs of $30,000 extra over two years. Yet seemingly modest amounts can make a huge difference for small businesses like Aid Through Trade.
With GSP back in place, Aid Through Trade was able to hire a new worker in Maryland and give thousands of dollars in bonuses to its staff. It also invested in new technologies as sales have returned to pre-2013 levels.
Like many GSP program users, Aid Through Trade is both importer and exporter. (About 45% of GSP Supporter List companies export.) Aid Through Trade exports products that enter duty-free under GSP to Europe.