Did You Hear? … U.S. reinstates sleeping bag tariff

A previous decision to allow the duty-free import of some non-down sleeping bags from certain countries abroad has been reversed by the Obama Administration.
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A previous decision to allow the duty-free import of some non-down sleeping bags from certain countries abroad has been reversed by the Obama Administration.

In a petitioned review of the 2010 Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which freed 4,881 types of products from U.S. tariffs starting in 2011, the president determined that one product – sleeping bags containing less than 20 percent, by weight, of feathers and/or down – should be removed from the list.

The decision will reinstate, on Jan. 1, 2012, a 9-percent duty on that type of sleeping bag imported from nearly 200 countries that are part of the GSP program, said Alex Boian, director of trade policy for the Outdoor Industry Association. (Click here to see a list of those countries.)

The decision could increase prices for those sleeping bags made abroad, but help U.S. sleeping bag manufacturers such as Alabama-based Exxel Outdoors, which has pushed for the tariff's restoration. (Click here to read a Dec. 2010 press release from Exxel Outdoors mentioning their support for the tariff).

The Dec. 29, 2011 announcement by U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk, along with more background, can be read by clicking here. 

--Compiled by David Clucas

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