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USTR to Consider Travel Goods for Inclusion in GSP

Brands selling travel goods could see a duty break on those products if the necessary trade bodies approve them for inclusion in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said Monday it will proceed with reviewing all 27 lines of travel goods—things like handbags, phone and computer cases, backpacks and luggage—for consideration under GSP.

GSP provides for duty free imports on designated goods provided they come from designated beneficiary developing countries.

According to the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) is also expected to announce its review schedule for the GSP product eligibility soon.

The move to add travel goods to the GSP program would mark the first major change to the program in more than 41 years, and the review process is a significant step that could see brands benefitting from the trade privilege program.

When the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 was signed into law last year, it also had a provision to remove a 41-year old prohibition on the inclusion of travel goods under GSP.

Companies, associations and countries filed 20 petitions with USTR in October imploring the government to add the travel goods, and they’re in the first stages of being heard.

A GSP Subcommittee will hold a public hearing on March 3-4 for all petitioned products, followed by a USITC report on probable economic effects scheduled for April publication, and any modifications that President Obama announces to the list of goods eligible for duty free treatment under GSP would take effect July 1, 2016.