Ciranda, Inc. employs 55 people in Hudson, Wisconsin. Founded in 1994, Ciranda supplies certified organic and non-GMO ingredients – with a focus on sustainable supply and fair trade practices – to American brands and manufacturers. In 2017, Ciranda became a 100% employee-owned company. It is among the many companies in the United States and around the world that needs Congress to renew GSP and refund tariffs paid immediately.
Due to GSP expiration, Ciranda has paid over $209,000 in extra tariffs on imports of tapioca powders and syrups, coconut products, rice syrup and powders from Brazil, Pakistan, Philippines, and Thailand. The need to pass these costs onto customers led sales to fall. Even if tariffs paid (eventually) are refunded, those lost sales can’t be regained. As an employee-owned company, everyone at Ciranda is impacted by those lost sales and profits.
Ciranda is a great example of the kind of trade GSP is meant to promote. Its qualification process includes an in-person visit to every supplier. While on-site, it observes each ingredient’s journey from the field to the processing plant. In addition to evaluating product quality, it surveys working conditions, fair labor practices, and the overall environmental health of the project. In 2020, Ciranda published a book highlighting the farmers around the world growing their product.
By eliminating U.S. tariffs on sustainable food ingredients, GSP helps companies like Ciranda do “more good” for workers and the environment in developing countries and the United States. Their example also highlights the risk of imposing too many eligible criteria on GSP countries for which higher tariffs are the only possible punishment. No matter how well-intentioned a new GSP criterion (e.g., on environment) may be, terminating GSP often hurts those meeting or exceeding even the highest standards. That’s why the Coalition believes Congress should consider changes to mitigate any punitive actions as part of GSP renewal, such as supporting partial (instead of full) terminations and/or creating a mechanism for good actors to retain benefits.
Note: Ciranda’s story came from a new Coalition survey on expiration impacts. GSP importers can take the survey here.