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OIA in D.C. Notes From The Hill: October & November 2022

By Rich Harper, Director of Government Affairs

This past month, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its 2021 outdoor recreation report, highlighting the immense economic impact of our industry: supporting 4.5 million jobs across the country and contributing nearly a trillion dollars to the economy. There is no doubt the outdoor recreation industry is playing a vital part in our communities. With the midterm elections behind us, we look forward to working with new and returning leadership to keep up with increasing demand for outdoor recreation and pushing legislation to benefit the industry and the American economy.

Promoting Vibrant Outdoor Industry with 2021 BEA Numbers

The 2021 U.S. BEA Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account release this past month found outdoor recreation accounted for $862.0 billion in gross economic output, 1.9 percent of gross domestic product, and 4.5 million jobs in 2021. This show of economic strength is coupled with data OIA released this fall revealing the highest-ever recorded number of new and returning participants in outdoor recreation. This resurgence in outdoor participation demonstrates an ever-growing appreciation for America’s outdoors that is fueling tremendous mental and physical health benefits for millions of people and supporting new investments in green spaces for all Americans.

Discussing Midterm Elections in OIA Webinar

This past month, OIA hosted a webinar alongside Forbes Tate Partners and Sorini Samet & Associates for a comprehensive discussion about the impact of the 2022 elections on OIA advocacy efforts regarding climate change, conservation and recreation, equity and inclusion in the outdoors, and international trade. This webinar provided opportunities for member businesses to get involved and hear tips about how to secure more wins for the outdoors and the outdoor economy. View the full webinar here.

Hosting OIA Trade Advisory Council Meeting in New Hampshire

This month, OIA Trade Advisory Council (OIATAC) convened in New Hampshire to reconnect with members and discuss the most pressing trade policy issues for the outdoor industry. During the meeting, the group discussed topics including passage of OIA’s footwear miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs), renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the China 301 tariffs, de minimis and U.S. Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) and the Sustainable Goods Initiative. OIATAC members had the opportunity to tour Timberland, a VF Company’s headquarters, and see firsthand the innovation in materials and design Timberland puts into their products. Additionally, members convened in Dover, NH to tour NEMO Equipment’s HQ and learn about the history and future of an innovative small outdoor business before the official OIATAC meeting. The robust group of supply chain experts in the OIATAC is working hard to achieve smart trade policies for everyone in the outdoor industry.

Urging the Biden Administration to Avoid a Rail Strike

OIA along with 322 local, state, and federal trade associations sent a coalition letter to President Biden, along with key administration officials, urging them to continue to work with the railroad unions and railroads to ensure that the tentative agreement that President Biden helped broker is ratified by all parties. This issue is paramount as a rail shutdown would have a significant impact on the U.S. economy and lead to further inflationary pressure, especially during the holiday season. Most recently, eight of the 12 unions have ratified contracts based upon the Biden-Appointed PEB recommendations. The “best outcome” for the industry is to reach agreements that can win ratification votes across all 12 unions.

Calling to Lift China Tariffs

As the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the next steps in its review of Section 301 China tariffs, OIA sent a trade alert to its members strongly encouraging them to participate in the review process and share their own stories. As companies in the U.S. continue to face supply chain disruptions and operate in an inflationary economic environment, OIA will continue to call on the administration to lift all punitive tariffs and use more strategic tools to address China’s unfair trade practices. USTR is seeking public comment through its electronic portal starting Nov. 15, 2022, until Jan. 17, 2023.