If ratified by the member countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic), which is anticipated in January 2006, the measure would immediately remove duties on resin, equipment, and molds, but as it stands, processed products would still be subject to tariffs to be reduced over a 5- to 10-year time period.
SPI, with the help of Representative Mark Souder (R-IN), did lobby, however, for processed plastics to be included in a group of items within a tariff acceleration agreement, where those tariffs could be removed more quickly.
As it stands, however, pipe, tube, sheet, film, packaging, housewares, building wares, and a broad catch-all category (3926 in the harmonized tariff system), continue to face duties.
"Certainly those are critical products for the US industry," explains Karen Toliver, SPI''s senior director, international trade and industry statistics. "They also happen to be the products where we are shipping the most product down to those countries, which is, practically speaking, probably why they wanted to keep the tariff protection in place."