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US expects growth of trade turnover, investment in Azerbaijan

The resumption of the “Generalized System of Preferences” (GSP) program will contribute to expansion of business ties and increase of the volume of trade turnover of the United States with the developing countries in general and Azerbaijan in particular, a partner and vice-chair of the Crowell & Moring’s International Trade Group John Brew told Trend Sept.9.

John Brew participates in the 10th World Customs Organization (WCO) PICARD Conference titled “Partnerships in Customs Academic Research and Development” being held in Baku.

In late July 2015, the US Congress adopted an act to extend the GSP program, which was suspended in 2012.

This act extends the right to use the GSP program until December 31, 2017. The act came into force on July 29, 2015 and these benefits will be also applied to goods imported into the United States since the period of the loss of power of the previous act [July 31, 2013].

The exporters will be able to get back customs duties till December 2015 paid for goods delivered to the US from July 31, 2013 until July 29, 2015.

“Despite the share of imported goods as part of the GSP program is only a few percent of the US total import volume, I believe that this program of preferences helps expand trade relations with developing countries, including Azerbaijan,” Brew said.

Brew said that the amount of investments made by the US in Azerbaijan is also being increased thanks to the GSP.

“The number of companies investing in the Azerbaijani economy increasing every year,” he said. “A part of these funds is directed to purchase the goods as part of the GSP preferential system.”

It is worth noting the overall US investments in Azerbaijan today total $10 billion.

Speaking about the goods imported to the US as part of the preference program, Brew said that most of all, various metals and minerals are delivered to the country.

“Unfortunately, I don’t know exactly what is imported under the GSP from Azerbaijan, but mainly metals and minerals, chemical products, agricultural products and a variety of equipment come in the US,” he said.

Under the GSP, it is allowed to deliver to the US up to 5,000 commodity items from developing countries.

Brew noted that in 2012, before the suspension of the program, preferences covered imports worth $20 billion from 123 countries.

In particular, many industrial goods, chemicals, construction materials, jewelry, carpets, a number of agricultural products are eligible for duty-free import or preferential tariffs.

The program should be updated every few years, said Brew, adding that its suspension in 2012 negatively affected the turnover of the US with the participating countries of GSP program and reduced investment potential in these countries.

Brew said he believes that the program’s resumption will have a positive impact on the trade with developing countries.

The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the US stood at $877.07 million in Jan.-July 2015, or 7.9 percent more than in the same period of 2014, according to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan.

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