Generalized System of Preference (GSP)

GSP lulled to sleep by sleeping bag dispute

Not about Georges St. Pierre tapping out – It’s U.S. companies being knocked out!

Potential Loss of $577 Million Savings and American Jobs. The U.S. Generalized System of Preference (GSP) secures jobs and strengthens local companies by enabling them to be more competitive, while it also promotes economic growth in developing countries. At the end of 2010 GSP lapsed yet another time and costs are adding up for U.S. companies.

GSP lulled to sleep by sleeping bag dispute
(New Orleans, Louisiana) – May 17, 2011 – The delay in GSP reinstatement is already hurting American small and medium businesses.  Con-Tech International, sheet steel importers based in New Orleans, Louisiana, reports payment of more than (dollar amount) in 2011 on Brazilian product tariffs that were previously duty-free under the GSP.

The U.S. Generalized System of Preference (GSP) promotes economic growth in developing countries by granting eligible products duty-free treatment until their exporters are able to compete on world markets.  The GSP was disrupted December 31, 2010 after a stalemate ensued between Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) when the program went before Congress for renewal.

According to a January 2011 Politico report, (, Sessions acted on behalf of Exxel Outdoors.  “New competition from bags made in Bangladesh, which are imported tariff free under the GSP program, has cut into Exxel’s profits, and Sessions wanted to remove most sleeping bags from the program…McConnell is a supporter of the GSP program and hoped to see it renewed without exemptions.”

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative explains the critical effect on American jobs and companies, “The longer the GSP program is not operational the greater the impact will be on the competitiveness of the thousands of American businesses that rely on the duty-exemption these programs provide.”  GSP-eligible goods support more than 82,000 American jobs according to a 2005 U.S. Chamber of Commerce study.  As savings that totaled nearly $577 million in 2009 are lost, American manufacturers will certainly be forced to make tough economic decisions, which could include the loss of American jobs, higher consumer pricing, or severed relationships with developing countries.

President of Con-Tech International, Robbie Evans, remains proactive in what continues to be a challenging situation.  As sheet steel importers, the company continues their alliance with Brazil in the hope of government reimbursement should the program renew.  Con-Tech International is a member of the Coalition for GSP, firms and their workers who use GSP, alongside companies like Target Corporation and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  The most recent Coalition for GSP letter to Congress is available for viewing online


To find out more about the U.S. Generalized System of Preference (GSP), visit


Con-Tech International
Robbie Evans, President
1046 Annunciation St., New Orleans, LA 70130 USA
Phone: 504-523-4788
Fax: 504-522-7332