The outdoor industry is closely watching the Trump administration's trade deals, given the unfurling of several rounds of tariffs over the last two years. Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) recently provided two updates for members.

North American Free Trade Agreement

After months of negotiating, the Trump administration and House Democrats reached an agreement on the final text of a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement—the USMCA. Congressional consideration of a new free trade pact is expected before the end of the year, OIA announced.

USMCA will update the original North American Free Trade Agreement, signed by the three parties in November 2018. But Congress must first ratify it. The agreement preserves reciprocal duty-free market access for outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment as a primary outcome. It also includes labor and environmental provisions that match international standards that will be subject to strong dispute settlement procedures.

"In a challenging trade environment, we welcome and applaud this bipartisan free trade agreement and hope it will provide OIA members continued options for new sourcing opportunities, enhanced domestic manufacturing and expanded export markets," OIA Manager of International Trade Rich Harper wrote in an email.

Since 2017, OIA has participated in the development of the administration's priorities, and beginning this year, joined the USMCA Coalition, led by the Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among other involvements.

Harper said OIA is sending a letter this week supporting ratification of the agreement and is scheduling meetings with undecided elected officials.

China tariffs

At at time when it seems like every outdoor product from China has been hit with a punitive tariff, the Office of the United States Trade Representative actually recently approved some exclusions on bikes, canoes, and foldable camping furniture.

As a recap: $200 billion worth of products were hit with a 10 percent tariff on Sept. 24, 2018. It rose to 25 percent on May 10, 2019. Stakeholders through Sept. 20, 2019, filed petitions to exempt products from the tariffs for a year and receive refunds on any paid.

The two groups of product exclusions are retroactive to Sept. 24, 2018 and valid through August 7, 2020, according to OIA. Several exclusions, listed below, were granted: 

  • Folding chairs with frames of steel and/or aluminum
  • Bike speedometers
  • Folding stools
  • Pet leashes and harnesses
  • Bicycles, not motorized, with aluminum- or magnesium-alloy wheels
  • Single-speed bicycles
  • Canoes (other than of wood or metal)
  • Folding tables designed for camping
  • Outdoor tables of steel and aluminum
  • Foldable cots with frames of steel and/or aluminum

Further details on products from the first group can be found here. More details on products from the second group can be found here.

Companies still facing tariffs in List 4a can petition for exclusions until Jan. 31, 2020. Learn how here