Outdoor Industry Association® Welcomes Senate Approval of Key Trade Legislation

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contacts:
Rich Harper
Outdoor Industry Association
202.251.0299
rharper@outdoorindustry.org

Gareth Martins
Outdoor Industry Association
(303) 327-3539
gmartins@outdoorindustry.org

Outdoor Industry Association® Welcomes

Senate Approval of Key Trade Legislation

Approval of a portion of the U.S. OUTDOOR Act Significantly

Lowers Tariffs on Outdoor Gear

(Boulder, CO) May 14, 2015 – Outdoor Industry Association applauds the U.S. Senate for passing two pieces of trade preference legislation and a customs-and-enforcement bill today that will benefit manufacturers of outdoor goods and apparel.

“The Senate’s action today is an important step forward in providing much needed import tariff relief for outdoor products,” said Alex Boian, OIA’s Senior Director of Government Affairs. “I applaud Senator Cantwell [D-WA], Senator Ayotte [R-NH], Senator Roberts [R-KS], and Senator Portman [R-OH] for their leadership in helping to lower costs for outdoor companies thereby supporting a healthy outdoor recreation economy.”

The trade preference legislation will create a new tariff classification for “recreational performance outerwear”—highly technical and specialized apparel—within the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). Currently, recreational performance outerwear is classified under the same HTS codes as ready-made, mass-market apparel and is subjected to disproportionately high tariffs. The reclassification language comes from the U.S. OUTDOOR Act—the outdoor industry’s signature piece of trade legislation—and was attached to the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the Generalized Systems of Preferences (GSP) program. That bill also included a provision—the GSP Update Act—that will allow backpacks and travel goods to be eligible for inclusion in the GSP program.

The Athletic Footwear Initiative will expand the definition of athletic footwear to include certain outdoor performance footwear and, thus, lower the duty on those products from 37.5 percent to 20 percent. Under current law, athletic footwear receives a 20-percent tariff, while “protective” footwear—such as firemen and workmen boots—receive a 37.5 percent tariff. Outdoor performance footwear is used for athletic purposes such as trail running, hiking and mountain climbing. In fact, “athletic” and outdoor performance footwear are often identical in appearance, with the latter including an internal waterproof membrane.

Finally, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act—a provision of today’s customs-and-enforcement bill—will provide for a clear, transparent and predictable miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB) process. MTBs eliminate import duties on products that have no competition from U.S. manufacturers. To date, 20 MTBs related to the outdoor industry have resulted in more than $30 million of saving for outdoor companies. However, failure to renew the most recent MTB as well as tariff suspensions have forced outdoor companies to absorb cost increases as high as 40 percent. These provisions are rooted in the outdoor industry’s balanced trade standard and will allow outdoor companies to lower costs for consumers, get more people outdoors, fuel innovation and create more U.S. jobs.

Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, CO, with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.

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