The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) backs the GSP Footwear Act of 2017 introduced Thursday to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored by Representative Adrian Smith of Neb., allows limited, non-import-sensitive footwear items to petition to be added to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a program that gives duty-free access to the U.S. market for more than 100 developing countries, including countries like Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and more. If this legislation is included in GSP, it will provide an estimated $57 million in duty savings for footwear companies each year.
“AAFA strongly supports this new footwear legislation as it makes small but critical changes to products that are eligible for GSP status,” said Rick Helfenbein, AAFA president and CEO. “As with a similar AAFA-supported GSP initiative, overwhelmingly enacted by Congress two years ago, this approach carefully avoids impacting products that are made in the United States. If these footwear items are ultimately designated as GSP-eligible, companies will be able to use duty savings to support U.S. workers, to invest in product innovation, and have the ability to pass along savings to consumers.
GSP became law around 42 years ago, acting as one of the biggest and oldest U.S. trade preference programs, made up to give opportunities to developing markets through access to the U.S. economy.
“These are small steps toward what ultimately can be a larger review of the GSP program, and the opportunity to update the 42-year-old trade program,” said Helfenbein. “In addition, we urge Congress to quickly move forward with the underlying GSP renewal legislation, which is scheduled to expire at the end of the year.”