The U.S. Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee announced legislation Thursday designed to augment U.S. trade relationships with developing countries, according to a press release. The bill -- The AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015 -- would renew both the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in addition to enhancing trade benefits for Haiti.
Central to the bill – introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., as well as House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Ranking Member Sander Levin, D-Mich. – is the renewal of both the AGOA and the GSP.
The AGOA lowers U.S. tariffs on exports for beneficiary African nations to promote more long-term economic development, trade and investment. The new bill would extend the AGOA for 10 years.
The GSP, on the other hand, provides duty-free importation of more than 5,000 products from developing nations. The GSP expired in 2013, but the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act would extend the program through 2017.
Finally, the new bill would renew a variety of programs that support trade and economic expansion in Haiti.
Ryan elaborated on the benefits of the proposed legislation in a press release Thursday.
"This legislation will promote American trade and strengthen our economic ties with important countries,” said Ryan. “It will encourage our friends in Africa and Haiti to pursue free enterprise and solidify the rule of law. This legislation demonstrates that more trade can create opportunity at home and promote our economic values abroad."
Wyden highlighted the value of the tax breaks in the GSP for American businesses.
“By retroactively extending our Generalized System of Preferences, our legislation will save American businesses an estimated $2 million a day,” he said.
The bill now faces debate on the House floor.