American Metal Market
AMM
May 12, 2014
By Daniel Fitzgerald

 US aiming to end Russia's GSP eligibility

NEW YORK - The U.S. government is planning to remove Russia from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program because the nation has "advanced beyond the level of economic development and competitiveness for GSP eligibility."

The GSP program provides duty-free treatment to several thousand imported products, including ferroalloys, from developing nations such as India, Russia and South Africa.

“The purpose of the Generalized System of Preferences is to assist developing countries to use trade to boost their economic development," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement. "Russia has advanced beyond the level of economic development and competitiveness for GSP eligibility. As such, Russia should no longer qualify to receive GSP benefits. The President's decision is consistent with the World Bank's designation of Russia as a 'high-income country' as well as actions by the European Union and Canada to remove Russia from similar programs."

Representatives for Russian Ferroalloys Inc. and Evraz East Metals North America LLC, a subsidiary of Russian steelmaker Evraz Group SA, could not be reached for comment.

The GSP program expired in August 2013 after a bill that would have extended the program until October 2015 failed to pass the Senate before politicians left Washington for the summer recess (amm.com, Aug. 9). However, any legislation to reinstate the program could be applied retroactively to the beginning of August 2013, allowing traders to reclaim import duties paid in the interim.

The Coalition for GSP-whose members include Miami-based Georgian American Alloys Inc. and New York-based Traxys North America LLC-said that $441 million in tariffs were paid by U.S. importers between Aug. 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014.