The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the closure of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) eligibility reviews with no loss of benefits for three countries: Georgia, Uzbekistan and Indonesia.
“This announcement demonstrates the effective use of the GSP program to improve labor standards and help U.S. businesses and workers succeed,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer. “It also demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to robust monitoring and enforcement of our trade preference programs and underscores that when countries do not meet the congressionally mandated eligibility criteria, we will take action by limiting their preferential duty-free access to the U.S. market.”
USTR is closing the GSP worker rights eligibility review of Uzbekistan opened in 2008. The ILO monitoring program found no systematic use of child labor in the cotton harvest and a continued decline in forced adult labor for the fifth year in a row. The government has criminalized the use of forced adult labor and abolished cotton production quotas. The government has also significantly raised the wage rate for cotton pickers, thereby greatly increasing the pool of voluntary labor. The United States will continue to engage with the Government of Uzbekistan to promote further progress in the elimination of forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest.
GSP, the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference program, is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry into the United States for 3,500 products from the 119 designated beneficiary countries and territories. To remain eligible for these advantages, beneficiary countries must comply with 15 statutory eligibility criteria, including taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights, providing adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights, and assuring equitable and reasonable access to its markets.