GSP Has Been Reinstated Effective April 22, 2018 –
Retroactive Refunds for Entries During the Lapse Period

April 23, 2018

On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed H.R. 1625, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018,” which among other things extended GSP, with retroactivity, for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020. The new law, effective April 22, 2018, provides for retroactive refund of all duties (without interest) to the importer of record for GSP-eligible goods entered during the January 1, to April 21, 2018 lapse period. CBP spelled out the procedures for GSP refunds in CSMS #18-000296, dated April 20, 2018.

Retroactive Refund

For GSP-eligible formal and informal entries filed electronically via ABI (Automated Broker Interface) using the SPI “A” as a prefix to the tariff number during the lapse period, the refund will be processed automatically by CPB. No further action is required by the filer to initiate the refund process.

Duty refund requests must be submitted no later than September 19, 2018 for all non-electronic filers and ABI filers that didn’t include SPI “A” on the entry summary. Refunds for unliquidated entries should be requested using the Post Summary Correction (PSC) procedures. For entries that have liquidated by September 19, 2018, protests should be filed. It is important to note that an importer’s failure to submit a post-importation GSP claim by the September 19, 2018 deadline will not be remediable via protest.

To facilitate refund processing, importers should check that their mailing address is up-to-date in ACE and, for Automated Clearinghouse program participants, that their ACH number is included.

Phased GSP Refund Processing

CPB will be processing refunds in 3 phases:

  • Phase 1: The Trade Transformation Office (TTO) will batch process all GSP entry summaries with the SPI “A” submitted during the lapse period. CBP anticipates that importers will receive these refunds by mid-July 2018.
  • Phase 2: Entries that were entered with the SPI “A” that could not be batched processed will be manually processed. These entries will include importations with the following characteristics.
    • If AD/CVD and GSP are on the same entry line, no refund will be issued until the AD/CVD liquidation order has been issued.
    • If AD/CVD and GSP are on different entry lines, the GSP administrative refund will be processed manually.
    • If Section 232 duties and GSP are on the same entry line, no GSP refund will be issued since 19 USC 2463(b)(2) precludes GSP program benefits accruing to Section 232 goods. See below for further discussion of Section 232 goods.
    • If Section 232 and GSP are on different entry lines, then the GSP administrative refunds should be processed manually.
  • Phase 3: Refunds will be processed after the completion of Phase 1 refunds for entries that were originally made without SPI “A” but for which GSP was subsequently claimed via PSC.

Goods Subject to Section 232

As of March 23, 2018, GSP-eligible goods that are subject to Section 232 duties (aluminum and steel) may not receive GSP duty preference in accordance with 19 USC 2463(b)(2), and importers should pay the normal trade relations duty rates and not submit with the GSP SPI “A”. The exception to this are goods from Brazil and Argentina, which are exempt from the Section 232 per the HTSUS Chapter 99, Subchapter III, U.S. Notes 16(a) and 19(a) and therefore GSP may be claimed for these imports.

For importations during the lapse period, see Phase 2 for the GSP refund processing above.

GSP Mail Entry Refunds

Addressees on mail entries made during the lapse period must request a refund of GSP duties in writing, along with a copy of CBP Form 3419A, to the appropriate International Mail Branch (address on the bottom right-hand corner of Form 3419A). Form 3419A must be included with the request to verify that duties and fees were paid on entry for GSP goods.

African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
and ACE Programming of SPI “A”

The reauthorization of GSP has no effect on goods entered under AGOA. Currently AGOA goods can be entered in ACE with either SPI “A” or “D”, but in future all AGOA goods should be entered using the SPI “D”.

For further information or questions about this or other customs issues, please contact George Tuttle, III, at or 415-986-8780.


George R. Tuttle, III is an attorney with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The information in this article is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence, and may not be considered as such.

Copyright © 2018 by Tuttle Law Offices.  

All rights reserved.  Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable.  However, because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by our offices or by others, we do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information and are not responsible for any errors, omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of such information.


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