The Trump administration handed a small victory yesterday to outdoor brands hurting from the ongoing trade war with China. A new round of product exclusions has exempted some key categories of outdoor goods from tariffs imposed by the White House. The newly excluded products include portable grills, sleeping bag stuff sacks, kayaks, bicycles, and solar-powered battery chargers. The change follows several previous rounds of exclusions announced throughout the end of last year.

For some companies, the news proved pivotal in regaining some normalcy in business operations. For others, the development is just another complicating factor in what has been a confusing, market-shaking series of policy changes that has eroded buyer and manufacturer confidence across the industry.

“The tariffs haven’t affected all of our products,” said Jonathan Cedar, the CEO of BioLite, after the latest announcement from the White House. “A portion of our products were on the 4B list that didn’t go into effect in December. Certainly, if that had gone into effect, it would have been a pretty big challenge for our business. I don’t think we had a binary shift the way some companies did last year. It got a little bit worse for us in a couple of categories, but we also avoided some of the worst of it in December. It’s just been a big mixed bag.”

Overall, the general unease surrounding tariffs on Chinese-made goods has hurt the industry more than taxes on any specific product, Cedar said.

“The uncertainty around the tariff environment felt like it really slowed commerce in the fourth quarter. Just the uncertainty seemed to erode marketplace confidence overall.”

SNEWS will be diving deeper into this latest development in the U.S.-China trade war next week. Stay tuned.


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