The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 renewed the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade program effective July 29, 2015 to December 31, 2017, with retroactive benefits to July 31, 2013. Claims for refunds must be made by December 28, 2015.
This renewal provides much anticipated relief to importers that have paid millions of dollars in duty during the period in which the program had lapsed. On July 29th CBP began accepting new entries without payment of duty when flagged as GSP-eligible.
CBP published on its website its plan for issuing refunds on entries made during the lapse period of August 1, 2013 through July 28, 2015.
- If not claimed at time of entry summary, claims for refunds must be made by December 28, 2015.
- Goods from Russia or Bangladesh are not eligible for the retroactive benefits since those countries lost their eligibility status during the lapse period.
- CBP is required to issue the refunds entry-by-entry so importers will receive a check for each affected entry.
- CBP has started issuing these checks and anticipates the process will take up to twelve weeks.
The process for making claims and receiving refunds for eligible entries is dependent upon the status of the claim made at the time of entry summary, the current age and liquidation status of the entry, and whether the entry summary was filed in ACS or ACE.
Entries flagged at time of entry summary
- CBP advises no action is required by the importer to claim refunds on flagged entries.
- However, importers should track their affected entries and monitor for the receipt of the associated check.
- If the check is not received, the entry status should be verified.
- If the check was issued, the importer should begin efforts to locate the check.
- If the entry was not processed with the refund, the importer should decide whether or not to pursue a manual, written claim for the refund.
Entries not flagged at time of entry summary
- Liquidated Entries
In order to claim retroactive benefits, the importer or its agent must submit a written request to CBP at the port of entry. The written request must contain the following information.
- A statement requesting the refund, as provided by section 201 of Title II of the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015.
- An enumeration of the entry numbers and line items for which refunds are requested.
- The amount requested to be refunded for each line item and the total amount owed (not including interest) for all entry summaries.
Importers should understand that CBP could request documentation that supports the claim for eligibility, so they should be prepared to provide documentation from suppliers that validates the criteria have been met.
Entry summaries filed in ACE
If the entry meets the criteria for filing a post summary correction in ABI, the claim must be filed electronically through the PSC process. If the entry is more than 270 days old or is scheduled to liquidate in less than 20 days, the importer must file a written claim as outlined above.
Entry summaries filed in ACS
The importer must file a written claim as outlined above.
In addition to focusing on retroactive claims of eligibility, importers need to evaluate their current products and claims of eligibility for GSP. Importers need to be sure that their filing instructions with brokers are current and clear to avoid misunderstandings and the potential for over- or under-payments of duty.
If you have any questions about the status of your retroactive claims or need to discuss current claims of eligibility, please contact your local Schenker brokerage office.