AMM
October 8, 2014
By Daniel Fitzgerald

US nixes Russia's duty-free status under GSP program

NEW YORK - The U.S. government has officially removed Russia from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program after determining that it no longer qualified as a beneficiary developing country.

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

“I have determined that Russia is sufficiently advanced in economic development and improved in trade competitiveness that it is appropriate to terminate the designation of Russia as a beneficiary developing country effective Oct. 3," President Obama said in a statement. The move was foreshadowed earlier this year by Obama (amm.com, May 9).

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

Russian Ferro-Alloys Inc., Mishawaka, Ind., a major U.S. ferrosilicon import source, couldn't be reached for comment.

The Coalition for GSP-whose members include Georgian American Alloys Inc., Miami, and Traxys North America LLC, New York-recently claimed that the ongoing absence of the GSP program had forced many U.S. companies to cut costs.