The United States Trade Representative’s office announced on July 7th, the Annual Product Review under the Generalized System of Preferences program. This measure adds new duty-free status for travel goods – such as luggage, backpacks, handbags, and wallets – for Least Developed Beneficiary Developing Countries, including Nepal.
The new rule makes these products eligible for duty-free status beginning July 1. U.S. imports of travel and luggage goods products totaled almost $10 billion in 2015.
In 2015, Nepal ranked second, after Cambodia, of all Least Developed Countries exporters of luggage products to the United States. Nepal’s exports of these products have grown seven percent since 2014, totaling $1.8 million in 2015.
U.S. trade preference programs provide opportunities for many of the world’s poorest countries to use trade to grow their economies and climb out of poverty. At 40 years old, the Generalized System of Preferences program, or GSP, is the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference program.
Under GSP, the United States provides duty-free treatment for many imports from beneficiary developing countries, and additional products for Least Developed Beneficiary Developing Countries. About 5,000 products from 122 beneficiary developing countries and territories, including 43 least-developed countries, are eligible for duty-free treatment when exported to the United States under the GSP program. Nearly 1,500 of these products are reserved for duty-free treatment for Least Developed Beneficiary Developing Countries only.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Nepali businesses to expand their exports to U.S. markets,” said U.S. Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz. “A strong commitment to open-market policies, a stable and transparent legal environment that secures property rights, policies that foster dynamic entrepreneurial activity, and strategic infrastructure investments will help Nepal make the most of this opportunity.”