US General System of Preferences back in action: green light for export and the chance to receive refund for the duties paid

On 29 July 2015, the Trade Preferences Extension Act came into force extending the General System of Preferences (GSP) till 31 December 2017.

GSP covers exports of goods from 121 countries, including Ukraine, and the list of products covered by GSP is 3500 items (33% of tariff lines). In particular, the list of products eligible for duty free export to the US includes some agricultural products, chemicals, minerals, jewellery, etc.

In addition to the currently imported goods, the program envisages retroactive refund of duties paid by importers for goods imported from 1 August 2013 to 29 July 2015 (the period when GSP was suspended). However, both currently imported goods and goods eligible for retroactive refund of duties shall meet certain requirements.

Thus, the goods shall originate from a country which is a beneficiary of GSP and shall conform to rules of origin. In addition, the product must be exported from Ukraine and shall be supplied to the US market, without entering into circulation on the market of third countries. Also, unlike the EU Generalized System of Preferences, it is not required to obtain additional certificates for exports to the US under GSP. These are only a few requirements listed.

According to statistics of the US customs authorities, in 2014 the value of Ukrainian imports into the US reached USD 903 mln. However, the value of exported goods which are eligible for refund under GSP was only USD 26 mln. (3%). Among them are the following: pigments (HS code 3206), gallium (HS code 8112), chocolate and confectionery (HS Codes 1806 and 1704). It is worthy to note that in average 27% of other countries’ export meet the requirements of GSP criteria.

GSP is the US government program to support export of certain goods from developing countries to the US market. On 29 June 2015 the US President Barack Obama signed the Trade Preferences Extension Act thus extending the application of GSP, which was suspended from 31 July 2013. GSP is the oldest and the most comprehensive program of the US trade preferences, which was introduced by the Trade Act of 1974.

For more information about the GSP requirements for export into the US or duties refund for the period from 1 August 2013 to 29 July 2015, please contact Sayenko Kharenko international trade team representatives Anzhela Makhinova and Andrew Zablotskyi.

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