Sri Lankan exporters to the US were once again reminded two weeks ago that US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefit doesn’t exist anymore after it lapsed on December 31, 2010.
This time the ‘alert’ came from the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCISL) in a circular to its members. In January, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce informed its members of this issue triggering concern amongst exporters who were unaware at that time.
Last week’s statement, said the US Congress did not reauthorize the GSP trade benefit before the law lapsed. “The GSP program provided trade preferences for 131 countries, and all of these exporters will not receive GSP benefits until the program has been reauthorized,” it said adding that the decision applies to the entire world, and not only Sri Lanka.
It said the GSP program has lapsed before, and each time the GSP program was reauthorized, and it is expected that the GSP program will be re-authorized again. “Exporters are encouraged to continue to claim GSP benefits, because in the past benefits were made retroactive to the expiration of the program,” it added.
Sri Lanka, a beneficiary of the US GSP Scheme since its inception, has been ranked as the 14th top exporter under US GSP Scheme in 2006. Rubber tires, Plastic sacks and Bags, Rubber Gloves, Activated Carbon weighing machine weights, Gold Jewelry, Porcelain/China household ware and Rubber floor coverings were among the major export products benefited from the US GSP Scheme.
Most textile and apparel articles, footwear, handbags and luggage flat goods, kitchen and bed linens, leather products, electronic products are not eligible for duty free treatment under this scheme.
The two chambers said they will closely monitor the future developments of the scheme and keep Sri Lankan exporters informed of any developments.