On June 25, 2015, Congress approved H.R. 1295 – the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (the “Act”).
Once signed into law by the President, the Act will renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) preferential duty program, which expired on July 31, 2013. The renewal will be retroactive, meaning that otherwise-eligible GSP merchandise entered between July 31, 2013, and the effective date of the law will be eligible for refunds of duty.
Importantly, the duty refunds will not be automatic, as had been the case with prior reauthorizations of GSP that occurred following lapses in the program. The Act provides that importers will need to file a refund “request” with CBP. We anticipate that Customs will issue a directive establishing guidelines for filing refund requests. The Act states that such refund requests must be filed within 180 days of the effective date of the law, which will be 30 days after the bill is signed by the President. Under the Act, refunds will be issued within 90 days of liquidation or reliquidiation. Interest will not be included in the refunds. Given that Customs will need to review refund requests covering nearly two years of entries, refund delays can be expected.
The Act contains a number of other provisions including an extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) through September 30, 2025, an extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and some tariff classification modifications regarding recreational performance outerwear and protective active footwear.
Compliments of Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP a member of the EACCNY.