The US government has confirmed that it will be making efforts to ensure that the eligibility criteria of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade preference program are being properly enforced.
Under the GSP program, certain products from 120 developing nations and territories can enter the US duty-free, provided that they meet 15 criteria pertaining to regulatory robustness and US market access.
The new initiative will see the US make a priority of concluding outstanding GSP cases, while implementing a new interagency process to assess beneficiary country eligibility, complementing the current petition receipt and public input process.
This will involve a triennial assessment of each country's compliance with the statutory criteria, with any concerns this raises leading to a full practice review of that nation's continued GSP eligibility.
US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said: "By creating a more proactive process to assess beneficiary countries' eligibility, the US can ensure that countries that are not playing by the rules do not receive US trade preferences."
The first assessment period will focus on GSP beneficiary countries in Asia, with other parts of the world to be scrutinized in years to come.