Yesterday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sent letters to members of Congress urging them to take decisive action to renew the General System of Preferences (GSP) program prior to its scheduled expiration on July 31, 2013 and the August recess. The letter, signed by Stephanie Lester, vice president of international trade for RILA, notes the significant benefits of the GSP program to the global economy while bringing attention to the consequences for American business would face if the agreement lapse.
By providing duty-free entry to the United States for a list of eligible products, the GSP program boosts economies in the developing world, while simultaneously allowing US manufacturers to remain competitive. The program lowers the cost of doing business in American markets, giving US families access to more goods at more affordable prices.
“The expiration of the GSP program threatens to cut businesses off from their supply chains and the duty savings they count on to create American jobs,” said Bill Hughes, senior vice president, government affairs at RILA. “The benefits of the GSP program have been widely recognized and we urge Congress to acknowledge the global importance of this program by renewing it before the August recess.”
The letter estimates that the GSP program is responsible for tens of thousands of US jobs, and notes that its expiration would inject uncertainty into the economy as businesses struggle to maintain access to the variety of products and prices the American consumer has come to expect.
Read the letters sent to the House and Senate.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.