"The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) extends duty-free treatment to certain products that are imported from designated developing countries. The primary purpose of the program, which the United States and other industrial countries initiated in the 1970s, is to promote economic growth and development in these countries by stimulating their exports. The program was last reauthorized until December 31, 2006, by section 410 of the Trade Act of 2002 (P.L. [Public Law] 107-210). The second session of the 109th Congress may consider legislation to reauthorize the program before it expires. U.S. companies and consumers who use products that benefit from duty-free treatment are strong supporters of legislation to reauthorize GSP. They argue that GSP reduces costs of production for companies that import components and parts under the program and lowers the prices that consumers pay. The program is also supported by observers who think that GSP is an effective, low-cost means of providing economic help to developing countries. They maintain that encouraging trade by private companies stimulates economic development more effectively than intergovernmental aid and other means of assistance."
CRS Report for Congress, 97-389
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://www.fpc.state.gov/