Based on an analysis of new U.S. Census Bureau data released today, expiration of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program cost American companies $100+ million in August 2021. Congressional authorization for GSP expired on December 31, 2020. Citing these growing costs along side Covid-related and supply chain challenges, over 300 U.S. companies and associations sent a letter to Congressional trade leaders urging GSP retroactive renewal in late September.

From January-August 2021, American companies paid at least $666 million in extra taxes as a result of GSP expiration. Imports into 36 states (plus Puerto Rico) paid at least $1 million in tariffs from January-July 2021 due to GSP expiration. The map below shows estimated tariffs paid for products claiming GSP by state.

August was the most expensive month of GSP expiration yet both nationally and for 15 states: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington. Tariffs paid on imports into Minnesota were 84% higher than any previous month. For Pennsylvania and Georgia, tariffs paid were 53% and 27% higher than any previous month, respectively.

GSP expiration costs have a direct, negative impact on American workers:

  • “GSP can be the difference between making a profit or a loss and without profits we obviously can’t increase wages and benefits” says Charlie Smith of BROSCO, a 4th generation, family-owned millwork distributor in Massachusetts and Maine. “Continued losses put all of our 360 workers’ jobs and livelihoods at risk.”
  • We are having challenges staying competitive says Ajay Kochhar of A&S Distributors in Salida, California. The 7-worker company has paid over $60,000 in extra taxes on food products from Fiji because of GSP expiration. “We can’t hire and give employees full benefits as this is a major increase.”
  • “The tariffs when added to the rapidly escalating costs of containers have been devastating” says Sandra Colyer of Lily Koo LLC in Jamestown, North Carolina. “Employees laid off due to Covid are slowly being brought back, but return to work would occur more quickly if money was not being spent on tariffs.”

It is critical that Congress renew GSP – with refunds for tariffs paid – as soon as possible. We strongly encourage GSP importers hurt by expiration to answer our new survey here. As always, no company-specific details will be published without permission.