Outdoor products sourced from abroad are among the most highly taxed when entering the United States despite the fact that they face no viable domestic competition: the average bound tariff rate on imported goods is less than 3 percent, but duties on outdoor products average 14 percent or higher, with some as high as 40 percent.
Since these outdated tariffs no longer protect a domestic industry – and are not a significant source of revenue for the U.S. Treasury — they unnecessarily harm U.S. outdoor companies. The million of dollars currently spent on tariffs could be better investing in new technologies, creating new jobs, and expanding domestic operations.
OIA has pursued a variety of tariff elimination initiatives that have saved outdoor companies over $30 million in duty savings. The ultimate result has been lower costs, more jobs, better products and more outdoor enthusiasts.
Each of these initiatives is rooted firmly in our balanced trade agenda: we only advocate for tariff elimination on those products where there is no viable domestic production:
- U.S. OUTDOOR Act: OIA’s signature trade initiative, this legislation would eliminate import tariffs on recreational performance outerwear, unique, high-tech apparel designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor recreation.
- Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): OIA has submitted proposals to USTR calling for flexible rules of origin and immediate tariff phase-outs on outdoor apparel, footwear, and other textile products such as backpacks.
- Miscellaneous Tariff Bills (MTBs): OIA has pursued 20 MTBs that have temporarily suspended duties on certain imported products that are proven to have no competition from U.S. manufacturers.
- Athletic Footwear Initiative: Certain types of outdoor performance footwear are classified as “protective” (ie workmen and firemen boots) and subject to a 37.5% import duty despite the fact that they are often identical to “athletic footwear” – subject to a 20% duty — and are used in such athletic activities as trail running, trekking and hiking. This initiative would expand the definition of athletic footwear to include certain outdoor performance footwear, thereby lowering the import duty from 37.5% to 20%.
- GSP Update Act: This non-controversial piece of legislation simply allows for backpacks and travel goods, no longer made in the US, to be considered eligible for inclusion in the Generalized System of Preferences program, a trade program designed to allow developing countries to export certain products to the U.S. duty free.