Apparel and Footwear Industry Calls on Congress to Swiftly Pass the GSP Refund Only Bill as Supply Chain Hurdles Hamper Operations

September 21, 2022 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association expressed its support for the GSP “Refund-Only” Bill (H.R. 8906) following its introduction in the House of Representatives Monday. H.R. 8906 would refund more than $700 million in tariffs paid by American companies on products including luggage, handbags, backpacks, cases, wallets, and more due to the expiration of the popular Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program on December 31, 2020. 

“Special thank you to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) for introduction of this important bill. The apparel and footwear industry encourages Congress to quickly pass H.R. 8906 to support American companies that are committed to the values of the Generalized System of Preferences program, and to help mitigate the costs faced by our nation’s supply chains,” said Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “The past few years have seen continuing disruption to supply chains, most recently the threat of work stoppages at our nation’s ports and along our rail lines. Refunding tariff costs on products that should already be duty free allows our members to focus their attention on these supply chain issues and enables companies to keep workers employed. While long-term renewal of the GSP program is still a top priority, this bill would provide companies with stop-gap relief as they continue to support the American economy."

The GSP is the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference program. It is designed to support economic development in select developing countries by removing tariff barriers on qualifying products, while supporting worker rights, intellectual property protection, and the rule of law in these beneficiary countries. Historically, the GSP program has garnered bipartisan and bicameral support since its inception in 1974 as the program requires Congressional re-authorization. The refunding of tariffs collected during prior gaps in the program’s operation has been common in previous renewal bills.

AAFA has been a vocal supporter of the GSP program. Most recently, AAFA was one of more than 270 organizations to send a letter to Congressional leadership in May 2022 asking for its renewal.