Petitions to Modify GSP Country & Product Lists Due October 4

International Trade & Customs Update

Date: September 06, 2016

Key Notes:

  • The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) deadline for petitions to modify Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) product and Beneficiary Developing Country (BDC) lists is October 4, 2016.
  • The USTR deadline for petitions requesting waivers of Competitive Need Limitations (CNL) is December 2, 2016.
  • This is an opportunity for U.S. companies to seek the removal or addition of import duties on BDC products and/or to ensure a GSP-eligible product currently exceeding CNL requirements may continue to receive duty-free treatment.
GSP Petition Process Offers Opportunities to U.S. Companies

On August 25, 2016, the USTR began accepting petitions to (1) add, remove or otherwise modify articles eligible for duty-free treatment on the GSP list; (2) review GSP status of any BDC; and (3) request waivers of CNL. The petitions are due October 4, 2016, and the CNL waiver requests are due December 2, 2016.

The GSP program provides non-reciprocal, duty-free tariff treatment to certain products imported from designated BDCs. The United States, the European Union and other developed countries have implemented similar programs since the 1970s. The GSP program provides duty-free entry for over 3,500 products from 122 BDCs and duty-free status to an additional 1,500 products from 43 GSP beneficiaries additionally designated as least-developed beneficiary developing countries (LDBDCs). The statutory goals of the GSP program are to: (1) promote the development of developing countries; (2) promote trade, rather than aid, as a more efficient way of promoting economic development; (3) stimulate U.S. exports in developing country markets; and (4) promote trade liberalization in developing countries.

U.S. companies importing from GSP beneficiary countries or competing with products from these countries are encouraged to submit petitions. There are specific requirements for submissions set forth in the August 25, 2016 notice. Companies may submit and request, as necessary, that certain business or proprietary information be treated as confidential. This review provides a great opportunity for companies to request the removal of import duties on certain BDC products or the imposition of duties on products already receiving duty-free treatment.

Product Petitions

All interested persons, including foreign governments, may petition to:

  • add products to the GSP; and
  • withdraw, suspend, limit or otherwise modify application of GSP eligibility.

Petitions must be made in accordance with 15 C.F.R. § 2007.1 and include a detailed description of the product and its Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) eight-digit subheading.

Country Practices Petitions

Any interested party may submit a petition to review GSP eligibility of any BDC as to the criteria listed in 19 U.S.C. § 2462.

Competitive Need Limitations

Any interested party may petition to seek a waiver of CNL requirements for any BDC on any GSP article. The GSP program places import ceilings to limit duty-free access of a GSP-eligible product to the U.S. market. The USTR may waive this limit with a “CNL waiver.”


For more information, please contact:

David Schwartz

William Matthews
Senior Manager of International Trade
Not licensed to practice law

Karyna Valdes*

or any member of our International Trade & Customs group.

*Karyna is not admitted to practice in the District of Columbia. She is admitted to practice only in Florida. Her work is supervised by principals of the firm.

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