Update: TPP Negotiations Conclude & GSP Changes
Negotiators Conclude Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
On October 5 trade ministers reached final agreement on a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement after a marathon negotiating session in Atlanta. The agreement includes the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries representing 40 percent of the world’s economy.
Negotiators from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will release the text of the agreement in the coming weeks once it has undergone a legal scrub. Based on its close monitoring of the negotiations, SFIA can assure member companies that the agreement will provide major new market access opportunities for sports and fitness equipment throughout the region. Regarding apparel and footwear, an aspect of the negotiations that was not closed out until the final days, SFIA looks forward to reviewing the details of the final text to assess what new trade opportunities the agreement will afford.
Aside from the market access results, the TPP agreement contains new disciplines regarding intellectual property, regulatory coherence, and other areas important to member companies. SFIA will be reporting in detail on those aspects of the agreement once the final text is released.
Venezuela and Uruguay Among Countries to Lose GSP Status
On September 30 the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that Venezuela, Uruguay and Seychelles will be removed from the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program effective January 1, 2017. The action is being taken because the countries have exceeded the program’s statutory per capita GNP limit.
Separately, USTR announced the results of a limited GSP review primarily relating to the operation of the competitive need limits for imports in calendar year 2014 (the review had been delayed until Congress’ passage of GSP renewal legislation in June). Of potential interest is the granting of a de minimis waiver to Indonesia for certain gloves and mittens designed for sports, including for skis and snowmobiles (HTS 6116.99.35), which will allow those products to retain their duty-free status. Also, five categories of upland cotton fiber products have been added to GSP eligibility for the benefit of least developed beneficiary countries.
The full results of the limited product review can be accessed at here.