Pakistan benefiting from duty-free market access to US

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US imports from Pakistan under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which offers duty-free market access to the United States, surged by 49% in 2012, reaching $195 million.
This represents one of the largest increases among all major GSP beneficiary countries,” said Deputy Assistant Trade Representative Bill Jackson during a presentation at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
During a seminar for members of the Pakistani business community, US Deputy Assistant Trade Representative Bill Jackson explained how Pakistani exporters can further take advantage of duty-free access to the United States currently available for over 3,500 Pakistani products under the GSP programme.
The USTR identified all GSP-eligible products and highlighted how Pakistani exporters who are actively looking for potential U.S. buyers can use GSP to increase their exports to the United States.
Bill Jackson told participants, “Pakistan can grow its duty-free exports to the United States even more. Pakistan exported $3.6 billion worth of goods to the United States in 2012, yet only 5.7 per cent of that amount took advantage of the duty-free treatment available under the GSP Program. Pakistan, therefore, has the opportunity to expand its exports to the United States substantially under GSP.”
Citing an example of how Pakistani exporters can enhance sales to the United States under GSP, Jackson noted that Pakistani exports of gemstones, precious metals, and jewelry to the United States showed impressive growth of 300% in 2012 – totaling $32.4 million – following a previous training session that raised awareness about available market access. Gemstones, precious metals, and jewelry are among the many items eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP Program.
Jackson advised Pakistani exporters of GSP-eligible products that there are several ways to make the most of the available tariff advantage. “First, consider using GSP as a marketing tool with US buyers. The US importers may be willing to buy new products from Pakistan or buy more of a particular product if they know that the item is eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP. Many US importers are also unaware that a product may be eligible. As a result, they often pay duties on these products even when they don’t need to do so,” he emphasized.
Among the GSP-eligible products from Pakistan on which duties were unnecessarily paid in 2012 were leather sports gloves, mittens, and mitts; certain non-cotton pillows, cushions, and similar furnishings; certain athletic articles and equipment; and miscellaneous iron and steel articles.