Initiated on January 1, 1976, under the authority of the Trade Act of 1974, the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program is designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for over 5,400 products imported from designated beneficiary countries and territories, including Serbia. On July 19-20, the U.S. Embassy, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, the Serbian Association of Managers, the American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia (AmCham), and the Chamber of Economy of Vojvodina, hosted Mr. William Jackson, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), who provided training sessions in Belgrade and Novi Sad on how to utilize the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. Mr. Jackson stated in his presentation that the GSP utilization rate for Serbia is only 37%, well below the average utilization rate of 70% for countries that qualify for the GSP program. Mr. Jackson suggested that Serbian companies could increase their exports to the United States by taking greater advantage of the GSP program and using Serbia’s eligibility under GSP as a marketing tool for potential buyers and distributors in the U.S.
According to U.S. trade statistics, U.S. imports from Serbia in 2011 totaled USD 132 million, but only USD 21 million worth of goods (16%) were imported duty-free under the GSP program. There are no extra procedures for companies to become elegible to trade their goods under the GSP program, although there is a requirement that 35% or more of the value added to the product to be exported must come directly from Serbia. Food products must also meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.
Products eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP include: most manufactured items; many types of chemicals, minerals, and building stones; jewelry; many types of carpets; and certain agricultural and fishery products. Companies may also petition the USTR to add products that are not already eligible under GSP. The GSP program also supports U.S. jobs – American businesses imported USD 18.5 billion worth of products under the GSP program in 2011, including many inputs used in U.S. manufacturing. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study, over 80,000 American jobs are associated with moving GSP-qualified imports from the docks to farmers, manufacturers, and retail shelves.
For more information on how to trade to the U.S. through the GSP program, please view Mr. Jackson’s powerpoint presentations, which can be found in PDF form on this page or click here to visit the GSP page of USTR’s website. If you cannot find the information you are looking for through any of these sources, please contact Dejan Gajic, Economic Assistant at the U.S. Embassy Belgrade, at firstname.lastname@example.org.