The action of adding the five cotton products fulfils the US pledge in the World Trade Organization to make imports of all upland cotton products from LDCs duty-free and quota-free, the Office of the USTR said on its website.
The decision is part of the outcome of the Obama Administration's Limited Product Review under the GSP, a 39-year-old trade preference programme under which the United States provides duty-free treatment to many imports from developing countries.
“With the recent bipartisan renewal of the GSP programme, thousands of products from over 120 developing countries are once again eligible for duty-free entry into the United States, supporting those countries' economic development and helping to keep US manufacturers competitive,” said US trade representative Michael Froman.
“The annual GSP product review helps to ensure that the programme is meeting statutory requirements and keeping up with evolving trade patterns, including those related to the competitiveness of beneficiary countries in different product areas,” he added.
Consistent with statutory provisions concerning country eligibility, three GSP beneficiary countries – Seychelles, Uruguay, and Venezuela – have recently surpassed the GSP income threshold and, therefore, will be graduated from eligibility for GSP trade benefits, effective January 1, 2017. Since GSP eligibility is a pre-condition for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Seychelles – which is currently a beneficiary of AGOA – will also graduate from benefits for that programme effective January 1, 2017.
Under the GSP programme, up to 5,000 types of products from 122 beneficiary developing countries and territories, including 43 LDCs, are eligible for duty-free treatment when exported to the US. In 2014, the total value of imports that entered the US duty-free under GSP was $18.3 billion. (RKS)
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