Generalized System of Preference

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program of the United States provides unilateral, non-reciprocal, preferential duty-free entry for thousands of products from beneficiary developing countries for the purpose of aiding their economic development through preferential market access. This program was created by the Trade Act of 1974. Provisions tying intellectual property protection to trade benefits were first added to the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, and were simplified in the GSP Renewal Act of 1996 to require the President to “take into account the extent to which such country is providing adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights.” Provisions tying market access to these trade benefits were introduced in the GSP Renewal Act of 1996, Subtitle J, which revised 19 USC 502(c)(4) to require the President to take into account “the extent to which [a country seeking to obtain or maintain GSP eligibility] has assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets … of such country ….” There have been many renewals of the GSP Program since 1996, including 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2018.