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USTR Hosts Public Hearing on GSP Program Eligibility

By Sanjana Dubey, Office of Public and Media Affairs

The interagency Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) held a public hearing at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) this week to gather testimony regarding recent developments pertinent to several ongoing country practice reviews. The GSP program is designed to promote economic growth in developing countries by providing duty-free entry for up to 5,000 products imported from one of 127 beneficiary countries. To qualify for GSP benefits, a country must meet certain statutory eligibility criteria, which include, but are not limited to, protection of worker rights and intellectual property rights (IPR). The GSP Subcommittee evaluates beneficiary countries based on accepted petitions alleging shortcomings in a country’s adherence to the preference program’s eligibility criteria.

GSP Hearing Witnesses, members of the public, and the media attend yesterday's GSP hearing at USTR.

The purpose of this week’s hearing was to obtain information regarding recent developments pertinent to the ongoing country practice reviews for Bangladesh, Georgia, Niger, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Representatives from most of these governments and from “petitioner” organizations like the AFL-CIO, the International Labor Rights Forum, and the International Intellectual Property Alliance testified before the Subcommittee to make their arguments for or against continuing GSP status. The hearing was open to members of the public and media, and represents another step in USTR’s efforts to promote transparency and engagement with trade stakeholders.

The full program for the hearing may be found here. Public submissions related to these GSP country practice review are available at www.regulations.gov in the country-specific dockets listed here.