Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)

GSP is the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference program. Established by the Trade Act of 1974, GSP promotes economic development by eliminating duties on thousands of products when imported from one of 119 designated beneficiary countries and territories. The GSP Guidebook provides basic information on the program.

GSP and African Trade

19 USC 2462(b)(2) of the GSP statute sets forth the criteria that each country must satisfy before being designated a GSP beneficiary. These criteria are summarized below for informational purposes only. Please see the GSP statute for the complete text.


  • A GSP beneficiary may not be a Communist country unless such country receives Normal Trade Relations (NTR) treatment, is a World Trade Organization (WTO) member and a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and is not dominated or controlled by international communism;



  • A GSP beneficiary may not be a party to an arrangement of countries nor participate in actions the effect of which are (a) to withhold supplies of vital commodity resources from international trade or to raise the price of such commodities to an unreasonable level and (b) to cause serious disruption of the world economy;


  • A GSP beneficiary may not afford preferential treatment to products of a developed country that has, or is likely to have, a significant adverse effect on U. commerce;


  • A beneficiary may not have nationalized, expropriated or otherwise seized property of S. citizens or corporations without providing, or taking steps to provide, prompt, adequate, and effective compensation, or submitting such issues to a mutually agreed forum for arbitration;


  • A GSP beneficiary may not have failed to recognize or enforce arbitral awards in favour of U.S. citizens or corporations;


  • A GSP beneficiary may not aid or abet, by granting sanctuary from prosecution, any individualor group that has committed an act of international terrorism;


  • A GSP beneficiary must have taken or is taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights, including
    1) the right of association,
    2) the right to organize and bargain collectively,
    3) a prohibition on the use of any form of forced or compulsory labor,
    4) a minimum age for the employment of children, and a prohibition on the worst forms of child labor, and
    5) acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work and occupational safety and


  • A GSP beneficiary must implement any commitments it makes to eliminate the worst forms of child
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