Chairman Blumenauer Files Legislation to Update Key Trade Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-R), Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, introduced new legislation to extend and strengthen key provisions of the Generalized System of Preference (GSP), the nation’s largest and oldest trade preference program that fosters economic development in some of the poorest countries in the world.
The program, which is set to expire on December 31, allows developing countries to share in the benefits of international trade, while also requiring those countries to meet basic eligibility criteria that help improve the terms of trade and ensure that those economic benefits are more equitably shared. Legislation introduced Monday by Blumenauer would prevent the expiration of the program while updating the program’s standards for the first time in many years, thus ensuring maximum effectiveness and fairness moving forward.
“U.S. trade policies are a direct reflection of our values and signal to the world what we, as a nation, hold important,” Blumenauer said. “By putting a stronger emphasis on human rights, environmental protections, and support for women and worker rights, we have a unique opportunity to modernize this critical international development program, strengthen our trade relationships, and recommit ourselves to stronger standards abroad and here at home.”
Blumenauer’s legislation to update GSP includes a number of key provisions, including:
- Add human rights, rule of law, good governance, and anti-corruption criteria.
- Include an environmental criterion that would create parity with the existing labor criterion in GSP.
- Require a survey of laws related to women and worker rights to allow Congress to better understand ways to support women’s full economic participation globally.
- Require a review of the GSP rules of origin and utilization rates of beneficiary countries to make sure that the most economically vulnerable countries are able to fully take advantage of the program.
- Require a periodic assessment of each GSP beneficiary country’s compliance with the statutory eligibility criteria to help incentivize economic reform in developing countries.
To read the full text of the bill, click here.