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International Trade: An Overview of Use of U.S. Trade Preference Programs by Beneficiaries and U.S. Administrative Reviews

GAO-07-1209 Published: Sep 27, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2007.
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Goods imported into the United States under trade preference programs, which extend unilateral tariff reductions to over 130 developing countries to assist their economies, totaled approximately $92 billion in 2006. The United States offers four primary trade preference programs--the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Some economists and others have raised concerns about the programs; for example, because the beneficiaries may lose interest in reciprocal multilateral or bilateral trade liberalization. In addition, the global trade context in which the programs operate is changing. Most U.S. trade preference programs will need to be renewed over the next several years. As a result, Congress needs to reexamine the programs and explore options for improvement. To provide information for such a reexamination, at your request we (1) identified and compared key features of U.S. preference programs, (2) analyzed use of U.S. preference programs by beneficiaries, and (3) examined U.S. agency administrative reviews of preference programs.

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Developing countriesEconomic developmentEconomic growthEligibility criteriaExport regulationExportingForeign trade agreementsImportingInternational tradeInternational trade restrictionProgram evaluationProgram managementTariffsTrade agreementsTrade policiesTrade regulationTrade facilitationProgram goals or objectivesProgram implementation