Hiking boots, hiking shoes, trail running shoes, skis, sleeping bags, ski jackets and pants, polar fleeces, and all other apparel, footwear and sporting goods are the new victims of the U.S.-China trade dispute.

President Donald Trump followed through with his plan to impose a fourth round of tariffs on $300 billion worth of products, which covers nearly all remaining imports from China.

Already, outdoor companies pay about $750 million in import tariffs annually, according to Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). The additional 25 percent—up from 10—and the inclusion of apparel and footwear is a huge blow to the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy.

In a SNEWS poll about how outdoor companies are responding, voters said they're either raising prices, discontinuing product line, absorbing costs, going out of business, and seeking factories outside of China.

"While outdoor companies are actively looking to diversify their sourcing options out of China, in several cases, China continues to dominate the market, with the infrastructure and skilled workforce outdoor products require," OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts wrote in a letter to Trump on Wednesday. "Other countries that are viable sourcing options may already be at capacity and unable to accommodate a massive, immediate shift of supply chains out of China."

While bike and snow helmets were left off the previous lists, they are now suggested in the fourth round. The 25 percent would be added to existing tariffs as high as 37.5 percent for hiking boots, 32 percent for a polar fleece jacket, 27.7 percent for ski jackets, 20 percent for sports bags, and 17.6 percent for backpacks, according to OIA.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is holding a public comment period next month. After that, although it is unclear when, the office will publish a final list of products and a timetable for when the tariff will go into affect.

Stakeholders can weigh in on the proposed tariffs:

  • June 10: Due date to submit a request to appear and a summary of expected testimony at the public hearing in Washington, D.C.
  • June 17: Due date for submission of written comments
  • Also June 17: Public hearing begins in Washington, D.C. (likely will run several days)
  • Seven days after public hearing ends: Rebuttal comments are due

Negotiations between the U.S. and China are moving slower than Trump would like, which is why he proposed more tariffs. Hopefully, the two will reach a comprehensive agreement that will protect U.S. intellectual property and remove all punitive tariffs before tariffs hit.

OIA is urging companies to take action—by either writing to officials, submitting comments, or testifying—and to learn more during a webinar next Thursday.


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