On November 14, more than 350 American companies and associations sent a letter to leaders of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees urging extension of the GSP program. GSP’s current authorization expires on December 31, and companies will be forced to pay over $2 million per day in extra taxes if Congress fails to renew GSP before adjourning for the year. In October, 38 House Members sent a bipartisan letter similarly urging renewal.
About the business community letter, Coalition for GSP Executive Director Dan Anthony said:
American companies worry about a repeat of the last reauthorization process. Despite broad bipartisan support, GSP benefits lapsed for two years and companies were forced to lay off workers, freeze new hires, cut wages and benefits, and delay capital investments. Congress eventually renewed the program retroactively, but much of the damage could not be undone.
Twenty-five national and regional business associations and 326 companies signed the letter urging GSP renewal. Companies on the letter range from Fortune 100 corporations such as Dow Chemical, GE, NIKE, Target, The Home Depot, and Walmart to small, family-owned businesses. The vast majority of company signatories are small businesses with less than 100 employees.
Past research shows small companies are least able to deal with the higher taxes and uncertainly associated with GSP expiration and therefore are more likely to lay off workers or take other drastic actions. A recent survey shows companies are already raising prices, reducing orders, or planning other cutbacks because of the potential for another expiration.