Duty-Free Entry for BiH Products to the U.S. Market

Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Bill Jackson

Guest Blog:  Today, our Economic Section Deputy Erin Kotheimer has contributed this information about how BiH exporters can benefit from GSP

Helping Bosnia and Herzegovina grow its economy and create new jobs, particularly for young people, is a priority of the United States.  To this end, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Bill Jackson traveled to BiH earlier this month to meet with local companies in both Sarajevo and Banja Luka about a valuable program called the Generalized System of Preferences – or simply GSP.  This program allows companies from BiH (and other GSP-eligible countries) to export more than 3,500 products to the U.S. duty-free.  This program contributes to BiH’s economic growth and development by making BiH products more competitive on the U.S. market and will ultimately lead to greater prosperity and additional jobs here in BiH. 

During presentations in Sarajevo and Banja Luka, Mr. Jackson demonstrated how to use the GSP database to determine if a product is eligible for duty-free import to the United States.  Business people from the audience asked whether their specific products, including motor filters, patio umbrellas and wine bottle sleeves, were eligible for the program.  Mr. Jackson demonstrated how to locate these products in the database and discovered that they were indeed included in the GSP program.  It is encouraging that BiH is the fifth-largest exporter of blackberries to the United States and that the amount of pickled cucumber exports from BiH to the U.S. under the GSP program has more than tripled from 2008 to 2011.   Pointing to these successes, Mr. Jackson encouraged BiH participation in U.S. trade shows such as the “Fancy Food” show, which focuses on gourmet foods from around the world.  In addition, BiH’s unique silver jewelry is an example of a GSP-eligible product that producers should consider exporting to the U.S.   

Mr. Jackson also noted that U.S. imports from BiH have doubled from 2009 to 2011, a true success for BiH.   As BiH continues to build its economy and play a larger role in the global market, it is without a doubt that stronger U.S.-BiH trade and investment ties will follow.

For More Information on GSP:  click here  

You can also view a list of GSP-eligible products by clicking here

Link to Searchable GSP Database:  See if your product can be found in this searchable database of GSP-eligible products:  http://dataweb.usitc.gov/scripts/tariff_current.asp 

Step One:  In the box on the first page, type in a short description of the product.  For example, if you look up blackberries, you would find four different tariff lines, only two of which are active. 

Step Two:  Check first to see if there IS a duty for the product in question.  That will appear next to the heading that reads “MFN Text Rate.”  If the rate is zero that means that the product is duty-free for everyone.  If there is anything else listed, that means that the product is dutiable.  For this particular product – frozen berries (tariff number 0811.20.40) – the duty is 9%.

Step Three:  If the product has a duty, scroll down to the “GSP” heading to see if the product is marked for GSP eligibility (indicated by an “A” in the right-hand column).  In this case, as you can see, the product is listed as “A,” which means it is GSP-eligible for all GSP beneficiaries, including BiH.