March 26, 2018
As reported in our February 15th Memorandum, although H.R.4979, The Act To Extend The Generalized System Of Preferences had successfully made it through the House and was sitting with the Senate Committee, speculation was that a more likely vehicle for GSP renewal would be the Omnibus Spending Bill. And, further to our Update of Friday in which we reported that both the House and Senate had passed such legislation, in fact this was the case.
Last Friday, after our Update “went to press,” President Trump signed into law the $1.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress to keep the government open through September. Included in the legislation was a provision to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), extending the program through December 31, 2020. Although GSP is not actually reinstated until April 22, 2018, as in the past, the renewal also retroactively extends benefits to covered imports that have been made since the program lapsed after midnight of December 31, 2017.
Importers should continue to follow the instructions issued by CBP in its CSMS 17-000789:
Special Procedures for GSP-Eligible Goods: In the event of a lapse and until further notice, importers are strongly encouraged to continue to flag otherwise GSP-eligible importations with the SPI “A” pay Normal Trade Relations (column 1) duty rates. Importers may not file SPI “A” without duties.
Programming: In the event that GSP is renewed with retroactivity, CBP is developing programing to provide for the batch processing of refunds on all importations made with SPI “A” and duties paid.
Now that retroactive renewal for GSP is certain, CBP should be issuing its official instructions for obtaining refunds; we will keep you advised.