MJSA supports the U.S. government’s recent determination to
remove duty-free, preferential treatment on gold rope and gold mixed link
necklaces from India. The decision was made during the Obama Administration’s
annual review of the Generalized System of Preferences program.
MJSA had earlier advocated for the removal of duty-free
status for these two categories of Indian jewelry imports, during testimony at
hearings held by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, part of
the Executive Office of the President, as well as at hearings before the United
States International Trade Commission.
Congress created the GSP program in the Trade Act of 1974,
to help developing countries expand their economies by allowing certain goods
to be imported to the United States duty-free. Once a country’s imports for a
specific product rise above a pre-determined competitive-need ceiling, however,
they are no longer eligible for duty-free status unless the President grants a
competitive-need-limitation waiver. In the past, India has been among the
countries that have received such waivers and in fact, the mixed link chains
had been granted such a waiver. The President’s action revoked the waiver for
these chains from India.
This year, after assessing which products should continue to
benefit from duty-free treatment under GSP, President Obama determined that
five products from three beneficiary countries were sufficiently competitive in
the United States to end duty-free treatment, including the two categories of
necklaces from India.
The overall growth of lower-priced imports has helped to put
the entire U.S. jewelry industry under great strain in the past decade, Cochran
added. MJSA has advocated that any country that no longer qualifies for GSP
status should no longer receive duty-free treatment.