Twenty-five countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay, asked the US Congress on Thursday to reinstate a system that allows them to export certain goods without paying tariffs, the Argentine Embassy in Washington announced Thursday.
The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), initiated in 1974, eliminates tariffs on certain products from developing and low-income countries, but expired at the end of December 2020.
Since then exporters must pay tariffs until the US Congress agrees to renew it.
"We are asking US lawmakers to give the highest possible priority to the GSP reinstatement process, because behind the export figures and the tariffs, there are working families who cannot market their production today," said Argentina’s Ambassador to the United States Jorge Argüello.
Argentina brought together officials from Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Ukraine, Pakistan, Tunisia, Yemen, Indonesia, the Philippines, Lebanon, Algeria, Thailand, Burma, Nepal, Cambodia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Mongolia and Fiji.
Representatives from these countries discussed "the consequences of the loss of market after the programme's discontinuation," such as unemployment, according to a statement released by the Argentine Embassy.
The meeting was attended by the executive director of the GSP Coalition, Dan Anthony, representing more than 350 US companies interested in continuing to buy products from their international suppliers under the scheme.
The affected countries believe that reinstatement of the system would improve supply to the US market in a context marked by inflation and supply chain disruptions.
At the end of the meeting, the diplomats signed a letter to Congress calling for a high-level meeting with all alliance countries to push for the reinstatement of the import regime, "with retroactive effect on duties already paid."