The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Program and What it Means to You
Over 5000 products from 128 countries can be imported into the United States duty free due to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. Started to promote economic growth in developing nations, it has the benefit of providing customs exemptions on many of the craft items visitors bring home from traveling.
Most crafts, handmade jewelry, ceramics, glass, most handwoven textiles and some carpets are covered by this program and do not count toward your $800 customs allowance. Apparel, footwear, watches, handbags and luggage are not covered by GSP. Manufacturing products, including chemicals are included but I hope you’re not planning to bring them home in your suitcase. Here is a lengthy list of covered products (you need to scroll past the bovines).
This means you can buy that $800 lens in Bangkok and still purchase hill tribe embroidery and jewelry in Chiang Mai.