H. R. 2702
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 4, 2009
Mr. Smith of New Jersey introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means
To suspend the application of Generalized System of Preferences for Brazil until such time as Brazil complies with its obligations toward the United States under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
This Act may be cited as the
Suspend Brazil GSP
Findings and purpose
Congress finds the following:
According to the Department of State, there
are at least 50 cases involving at least 64 children who were habitual
residents of the United States and who were removed to Brazil by one parent,
wrongfully denying custody to the parent in the United States, and who have not
been returned to the United States as required under the Convention on the
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at the Hague on October
25, 1980 (TIAS 11670; in this section referred to as the
David Goldman, a United States citizen and resident of New Jersey, has been trying unsuccessfully since June 2004 to secure the return of his son Sean to the United States where Sean maintained his habitual residence until his mother, Bruna Bianchi Ribeiro Goldman, removed Sean to Brazil.
On September 3, 2004, Mr. Goldman filed an application for the immediate return of Sean to the United States under the Hague Convention to which both the United States and Brazil are party and which entered into force between Brazil and the United States on December 1, 2003.
Article 12 of the Hague Convention, the judicial authority of Brazil was
required to order Sean’s return to the United States
customarily defined under international law as within six weeks after an
application for return has been filed.
On October 13, 2005, the Brazilian court refused to return Sean in contravention of Brazil’s obligations under the Hague Convention even though it found that Sean was a habitual resident of the United States and, pursuant to international law, had been wrongfully removed and retained in Brazil.
On August 22, 2008, Mrs. Goldman passed away in Brazil leaving Sean without a mother and separated from his biological father in the United States. Instead of returning Sean to the custody of his father David, Mrs. Goldman’s second husband, João Paulo Lins e Silva, petitioned the Brazilian courts for custody rights over Sean.
On September 25, 2008, Mr. Goldman filed an amended application under the Hague Convention against Mr. Lins e Silva for the return of custody over Sean.
On June 1, 2009, a federal court judge in Brazil ordered that Sean be turned over to the United States consulate in Rio de Janeiro and returned to his father on June 3, 2009. The court further ordered that, following a 30-day adaptation period in the United States, Mr. Goldman be given full custody over Sean.
On June 2, 2009, one Brazilian Supreme Court justice suspended the order of the first level of the Federal Court on the basis of a motion filed by the Progressive Party, a small Brazilian political party, that objects to the application of the Hague Convention in Brazil. This suspension must now be heard by the full Supreme Court, could further delay the Goldman case for months, and could prevent the return of any other abducted children to the United States.
Brazil is a primary beneficiary under the Generalized System of Preferences program. In 2008, Brazil received duty-free status under the GSP for United States imports totaling $2.75 billion.
A country that refuses to abide by its international obligations pursuant to the Hague Convention and recognize the international rights of parents and their children from the United States should not be able to export goods to the United States duty-free under the Generalized System of Preferences program.
Declaration of purpose
The purpose of this Act is to—
attain the immediate return of Sean Goldman and all children to the United States who are being held wrongfully in Brazil in contravention of the Hague Convention; and
impress upon the judiciary, central authority, and law enforcement of Brazil the importance of abiding by their respective obligations pursuant to the Hague Convention.
Suspension of application of Generalized System of Preferences for Brazil
Notification of suspension of duty-free treatment
Not later than 7 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall notify the member countries of the World Trade Organization that the United States is suspending the application of Generalized System of Preferences for Brazil in accordance with the requirements of this section.
Suspension of duty-free treatment
Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall suspend the application of Generalized System of Preferences for Brazil.
The President may waive the application of paragraph (1) if the President determines and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that it is important to the national interests of the United States to do so.
Reinstatement of duty-free treatment
The President may reinstate the application of Generalized System of Preferences for Brazil if the President certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the following requirements have been satisfied:
The central authority of Brazil is
complying with its obligations under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction, done at the Hague on October 25, 1980 (TIAS
11670; in this section referred to as the
Hague Convention) with
respect to international child abduction cases involving children from the
The judicial system of Brazil is complying with its obligations under the Hague Convention with respect to international child abduction cases involving children from the United States.
The law enforcement system of Brazil is complying with its obligations under the Hague Convention with respect to international child abductions cases involving children from the United States.
In this section:
Appropriate congressional committees
The term appropriate congressional committees means—
the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives; and
the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Finance of the Senate.
Generalized System of Preferences
The term Generalized System of Preferences means duty-free treatment provided to eligible articles from beneficiary developing countries under title V of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2461 et seq.).