US spending bill reauthorizes GSP till 2020

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Reuters photo of US President Trump.

MANILA – The signing of the US Omnibus Spending Bill on March 23 provided continued authorization for that country’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), benefiting Philippine exporters, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

“We wish to thank the US government for the timely renewal of the GSP program, as Philippine exporters will continue to benefit from enhanced market access to the United States under GSP,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a statement issued over the weekend.

The DTI said the previous GSP program in force since 2015 expired at the end of 2017.

GSP programs allow beneficiary countries to export products to the US without duty.

The program now runs through 2020 after President Donald J. Trump signed the Omnibus Spending Bill. The legislation provides for refunds on duties charged on for goods shipped during the period when the program had expired.

The US GSP program covers a total 5,057 products, some 47.7% of the 10,600 total US tariff lines. Of these, about 3,500 are available to all beneficiary developing nations while least-developed countries can ship an additional 1,500 products without duty.

GSP exports account for about 18% of Philippine exports to the US, valued at $1.59 billion.

Top GSP exports to the US include telescopic sights for rifles, spectacle lenses other than glass, new pneumatic radial tires made of rubber, nonalcoholic beverages not including those from fruits and vegetables, and electrical machinery and equipment parts.

“This is important not only in ensuring advantages for our exporters but equally critical, to heighten the Philippines’ advantage as location for manufacturing these products,” Trade Policy Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said in the statement.

The Philippines has had initial talks with the United States for a bilateral trade agreement. —Janina C. Lim