The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a program that provides preferential duty-free entry to certain products from designated developing countries.
The purpose of the program is to foster economic growth in developing countries by increasing their export markets. The Trade Act of 1974 authorized the GSP for a ten-year time frame, and the program has been renewed from time to time. Most recently, in 2006, Congress extended GSP through 2008. The GSP program currently offers preferential access for close to 5,000 products from 143 countries and territories.
Although the GSP is non-reciprocal, it can be used to promote stronger intellectual property protection and enforcement abroad. Under the GSP statute, the President must consider a set of mandatory criteria that a country must fulfill in order to be designated as a GSP beneficiary. Additionally, the President may evaluate a country on the basis of certain discretionary criteria, including the country’s provision of IPR protection.
The GSP program undergoes an annual review by the GSP Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), which is headed by the USTR. As part of its evaluation, the TPSC addresses concerns about specific country practices (such as intellectual property protection) and makes recommendations to the President.
- ↑ 91 U.S.C. §2462(b)(2).