U.S. job growth slowed to just 245,000 jobs in November – the lowest level of the recovery to date – and there are still almost 10 million fewer U.S. jobs than in February. If Congress allows GSP to expire on December 31, American companies would face millions of dollars a day in new taxes on January 1. For small businesses in particular, this would make a bad situation even worse.
Earlier this week, nearly 300 American organizations sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging immediate passage of legislation to renew GSP. In the past, lapses have caused companies to lay off workers, freeze hires, cut benefits, and cancel job-creating investments. Lots of examples here.
Robert Dodson, CEO of travel goods company Ricardo Beverly Hills, summed up the situation perfectly when signing onto the letter:
We need consistent policy that we can plan our business around. Lots of jobs have already been lost. We don’t want to lose more people. Please expedite renewal of GSP Benefits.
According to Inside US Trade ($), the holdup in ongoing negotiations is over adding new country eligibility criteria to GSP. There is no apparent opposition to discussing eligibility criteria. The letter specifically says companies are eager to participate in broad discussions on ways to improve GSP. Program users are hopeful negotiations can reach a deal, but…
Blocking GSP renewal over the eligibility criteria issue seems like a bad plan for a simple reason: Americans will start losing jobs in January if GSP expires. The same cannot be said about adding new criteria. There is no harm in waiting until next year to discuss eligibility criteria as part of broader talks on making the whole program better.
“Lots of jobs have already been lost. We don’t want to lose more people. Please expedite renewal of GSP Benefits.” It’s as simple as that, both for GSP users and the U.S. economy more broadly. Or at least it should be.