The lapsed US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) tax incentive programme should be renewed immediately, according to hundreds of US companies.

In all, some 463 businesses – from trade associations such as the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and National Retail Federation (NRF) to major retailers and small operators – have written joint letters to members of the US Senate and House of Representatives.

They are calling for the GSP programme, which expired on 31 July last year, to be renewed immediately, claiming that in its absence they have paid nearly US$2m per day in higher taxes.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer,” they write.

“Most importantly, we use the GSP programme to lower costs and remain competitive, and therefore need Congress to pass a retroactive renewal bill immediately.”

The AAFA has also advocted for the inclusion of an update to the programme which would make US imports of travel goods eligible for duty benefits.