Generalized System of Preferences: Background and Renewal Debate [Updated March 12, 2008] [open pdf - 223KB]
From the Summary: "The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) provides duty-free tariff treatment to certain products imported from designated developing countries. The United States, the European Union, and other developed countries implemented such programs in the 1970s in order to promote economic growth in developing countries by stimulating their exports. The U.S. program (as established by Title V of the Trade Act of 1974) was extended until December 31, 2008, in section 8002 of P.L. [Public Law] 109-432 for all GSP beneficiary countries not covered by the African Growth and Opportunity Acceleration Act [AGOA] of 2004 (P.L.108-274, extended GSP benefits for AGOA beneficiary countries through September 30, 2015). On February 7, 2008, House Ways and Means Chairman Rangel introduced H.R. 5264, a bill seeking to further extend the Generalized System of Preferences and other trade preference programs, such as the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), until September 30, 2010. As passed by the House on February 27 and the Senate on February 28, the law extends only the ATPA for an additional ten months, until December 31, 2008 (P.L. 110-191). […] This report presents, first, a brief history, economic rationale, and legal background leading to the establishment of the GSP. A brief comparison of GSP programs worldwide, especially as they compare to the U.S. system, is also presented. Second, the U.S. implementation of the GSP is discussed, along with the present debate surrounding its renewal and legislative developments to date. Third, an analysis of the U.S. program's effectiveness and the positions of various stakeholders are presented. Fourth, possible implications of the expiration of the U.S. program and other possible options for Congress are discussed. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33663