RESTON, Va. — The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has issued a decision that removes lauan wood brought in from Indonesia from the generalized system of preferences (GSP) program following a limited product teview conducted this summer as required by legislation reinstating the trade program, the RV Industry Association reported.
Unfortunately, because 82 percent of all lauan imported to the United States last year came from Indonesia, which exceeded the 75 percent threshold of imports from one country, the USTR revoked the competitive needs limitations (CNL) waiver for the wood, meaning it is no longer eligible for duty-free treatment. The 8 percent duty will begin to be collected on all imports of lauan from Indonesia.
This decision will not impact the retroactive refunds of tariffs paid from July 31, 2013 (when the GSP program expired) to July 29, when the program renewal took effect. Nor will it impact lauan brought in between July 29 and Oct. 1. The importers of lauan will have to pay the tariff going forward and will most likely raise the cost of lauan to all customers, including the RV industry.
GSP provides duty-free treatment for selected goods imported from developing countries for use by U.S. companies in manufacturing goods in the United States for domestic consumption or for export. Under legislation that reinstated GSP in July, any article that had been included via a CNL waiver for more than five years was subject to review and revocation if it exceeded a certain dollar amount or if imports of it from one country exceeded 75 percent of all imports of that product.
Lauan imported from Indonesia has been included in the GSP program under a CNL waiver that was issued in 2005.
RVIA is currently consulting with trade lawyers on any potential recourse to the USTR decision.
SOURCE: RV Industry Association press release