In the first half of 2021, imports from China increased by $47 billion, while combined imports under GSP from 80+ countries rose by just $760 million. Imports from China aren’t just growing more, they’re growing at a much faster rate too. Those should be sobering facts for all the Members of Congress and the Administration that want to pressure China and encourage U.S. companies to shift supply chains out of China. Here’s what it looks like:

It should go without saying: if policymakers want U.S. companies to buy less from China and more from other countries, they shouldn’t also raise tariffs on those other countries. But since imposing Section 301 tariffs on China, that’s exactly what they did by:

  1. Ending GSP benefits for major countries (e.g., terminating GSP for India and Turkey in 2019, suspending half of Thailand’s benefits in 2020; result: $800+ million in extra tariffs);
  2. Ending GSP benefits for major products (some Brazilian chemicals/countertops and Argentine essential oils in 2018, jewelry from Indonesia and plywood from Ecuador in 2020; result: about 1/3 of all “GSP eligible products” are now excluded due to similar decisions), and
  3. Letting the entire program lapse on December 31 (result: nearly $500 million in extra tariffs in the first half of 2021).

Given those actions, it should be no surprise that companies are abandoning suppliers in GSP countries to buy more from China. It is impossible to make long-term sourcing plans based on GSP when tariff benefits for your country, or product, or the entire program, may lose benefits at any time.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Congress can help U.S. companies shift supply chains by renewing GSP (for a long time) and updating product rules so that GSP countries become more viable alternatives to China. Or it keep tariffs on China’s competitors high by letting GSP remain expired.