Renewal of GSP and Possible Duty Refund Opportunity

Dear Friends,

We are writing to make sure that those of you who utilize the Generalized System of Preferences (“GSP”) program are aware that it was recently renewed and that there is now a short window of time to claim refunds of duties paid during the 2 year period in which the program had lapsed.

As you know, GSP is the largest (and oldest) U.S. trade preference program, affording certain articles produced in specified developing countries preferential tariff treatment upon importation into the United States.  Although GSP expired on July 31, 2013, last month the President signed into law the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (“the Act”).  Title II of the Act authorizes the renewal of the GSP through December 31, 2017 and makes GSP retroactive to July 31, 2013.

The Act (and the restart of GSP) becomes effective on July 29, 2015 (i.e., 30 days after being signed by the President).  Once GSP restarts, U.S. importers will be eligible to claim refunds of duties paid on eligible imports entered between July 31, 2013 and July 29, 2015 (“the gap period”). The process to obtain refunds differs depending on whether a GSP claim was made upon entry or not.  If GSP eligibility was not claimed at the time of entry, U.S. importers must submit a formal request to CBP.  If GSP eligibility was claimed at the time of entry, CBP will automatically process these refunds.

While GSP refunds are technically required to be processed within 90 days of liquidation/reliquidation, the timing surrounding gap period refunds is a bit uncertain.  To that end, CBP has announced it will issue formal guidance on gap period refunds and refund processing later this month.

If you had any GSP eligible imports in the past two years, you should be looking to pull the relevant entry data together now so you are prepared to file a claim as soon as the formal guidance is announced.  If you have any questions about these refund opportunities, or if you would like a copy of CBP’s formal guidance once published, please let us know.

Best regards,

Ted

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