We spent a good chunk of last week running around Capitol Hill and meeting with House offices about the importance of renewing GSP. Every office we met with had at least one GSP supporter list company headquartered in the district – one of them had 12 constituent companies (!) – so we knew there would be plenty of local GSP impacts to talk about…but we didn’t expect the offices to provide us with props.
What do I mean?
Two different Georgia offices offered our pick of Coca Cola products. Both times we opted for Dasani water and then talked about how the plant-based PET resins highlighted on every bottle are imported from India under GSP. Expiration means those environmentally friendly resins are hit with an extra 6.5% import tax.
Ironically, a trade staffer from a different state mentioned Georgia offices’ omnipresent Coca Cola products, so we got to tell the story in that office, too!
Representative Pete Roskam has various candies “Proudly Manufactured in Illinois” in his office, including Lifesavers, Big Red, and Hubba Bubba gum. The sign did not note that Lifesavers are manufactured in Illinois using gelatin imported from Brazil under GSP that is supplied by Chicago-based In3gredients.
Representative Paul Ryan has a whole bookshelf of iconic “Made in Wisconsin” memorabilia products, including Case New Holland tractors and Jelly Belly candies. Both of those companies are among the 550+ American organizations on the supporter list that are forced to pay higher taxes because GSP remains expired.
After finishing our meetings one day, we stopped by Potbelly’s to grab a quick sandwich before heading back to the office. Like many the congressional offices, even Potbelly’s had GSP importers proudly on display behind the counter. In this case, it was a big can on Roland’s artichoke hearts. Typically duty free because of GSP, artichokes imported by companies like New York-based Roland Foods now face import taxes of more than 10% because of GSP expiration!
Time to head for more meetings. Wonder what GSP imports we’ll encounter today…