Trade Commission Report Supports OIA, SIA Position

Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) and SnowSports Industries America’s (SIA) assertion that no commercially viable production of performance outerwear pants and jackets in the United States was confirmed by a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) report released July 27, 2007. More importantly, the report confirms that domestic production of performance outerwear pants and jackets intended for outdoor recreational purposes is virtually non-existent.
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Outdoor Industry Association's (OIA) and SnowSports Industries America's (SIA) assertion that no commercially viable production of performance outerwear pants and jackets in the United States was confirmed by a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) report released July 27, 2007. More importantly, the report confirms that domestic production of performance outerwear pants and jackets intended for outdoor recreational purposes is virtually non-existent.

The report titled “Certain Textile Articles: Performance Outerwear” evaluated the capability of U.S. domestic firms to manufacture performance outerwear jackets and pants used for hiking, biking, mountain climbing, skiing, snowboarding, hunting, fishing, various water sports and other outdoor activities, as well as use by the U.S. government for military and uniform purposes. Workplace apparel utilized for protection from fire, chemicals, cuts and punctures was also defined as performance outerwear for the purposes of the investigation.

The ITC found that an overwhelming majority, 11 of the 13 U.S. firms reporting domestic production of performance outerwear, were intended for use by the U.S. government, which by federal law must purchase from domestic producers. Only two of the 13 firms reported production exclusively for commercial use. It was unclear whether those two firms produced performance outerwear for workplace or recreational use.

OIA research, which tracks point-of-sale data from outdoor-specific retail channels, and SIA research, which also tracks POS data, but from snowsport-specific retail channels, indicated that in 2006 sales of recreational use performance outerwear totaled $2.1 billion with more than 21 million pieces sold. The sales data does not include mass merchant retailers. The ITC findings indicate 2006 domestic production of all performance outerwear was de minimis, accounting for less than one percent of specialty retail sales.

“The ITC's report substantiates OIA's position that there is no commercially viable domestic production of performance outerwear,” commented OIA President and CEO Frank Hugelmeyer. “Trade penalties like tariffs, quotas and threats of punitive duties are not protecting a domestic industry and in fact are only harming U.S. businesses, their employees and ultimately, the American consumer.”

The report also evaluated the domestic production of the fabrics that go into performance apparel, but those results were inconclusive due to what the ITC called “significant double-counting for the shipment data” and the structure of the industry making it virtually impossible to discern the fabrics end use.

OIA is still evaluating options for potential use of the report in Washington, D.C., but is likely to first seek official recognition of the difference between performance apparel intended for outdoor recreational purposes and mass market garments.

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