President Trump Escalates Trade War With China

August 6, 2019

In a series of tweets, President Trump announced today that the United States will impose a new punitive tariff of 10 percent on $300 billion worth of products – List 4 – from China, likely including all outdoor apparel, footwear, tents, sleeping bags, skis, snowboards and other sporting goods. The economic impact of this decision is significant for the outdoor industry. Based on our analysis of trade import data from May 2019, had this extra 10 percent tariff been in place that month, it would have cost American outdoor companies an additional $700 million in new tariffs.

“This so-called ‘small’ tariff is anything but. If this ‘small’ tariff had been in place in May, it would have cost outdoor businesses more than $700 million in new tariffs. The hard-working Americans in the outdoor industry have already shouldered an extra $1.25 billion in tariffs from the previous round imposed in September 2018. These ‘taxes’ should instead be going back into creating more jobs, developing new products and expanding facilities and businesses. Instead, the administration’s trade agenda will hurt outdoor companies, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, and burden our communities further,” said Patricia Rojas-Ungar, OIA’s vice president of government affairs. “We need a comprehensive trade deal between the United States and China, and we need it now.”

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has not released a final list of products that will be subject to the 10 percent tariff. There is still a possibility that some outdoor products could be excluded. We will share that list with OIA members as soon as it is available.

The new tariff announcement comes a month after President Trump backed down from a threat to impose up to a 25 percent tariff on List 4 products imported from China. President Trump and President Xi agreed to resume negotiations on U.S. intellectual property protections and on the existing punitive tariffs on $250 billion worth of products, including a number of outdoor products on List 3. It appears that the negotiations have not moved in the direction preferred by the Administration hence the move to increase the pressure with the use of a new tariff on Chinese goods.

In June, OIA and 15 outdoor companies testified before high-level Trump administration officials in Washington, D.C., in opposition to tariffs on a List 4 products, highlighting the devastating impact tariffs would have on jobs, innovation, business opportunities and getting more Americans outdoors. Additional companies filed written comments during the public comment period and joined a letter organized by the Americans for Free Trade coalition that had a total of 661 signatories in opposition to the latest round of tariffs.

OIA Webinar 
On August 8 at 3:00 p.m. (ET), OIA will host a webinar on the process recently set up by USTR for companies to file petitions to exclude products on List 3 from additional tariffs and receive a refund on punitive tariffs paid to date. Products on this list – including backpacks, sports bags, bikes, camp chairs, leather ski gloves, camp stoves and headwear – were hit with a 10 percent punitive tariff last September that rose to 25 percent on May 10.  Our analysis of trade data for List 3 products shows that the outdoor industry has paid $1.25 billion extra in tariffs from Sept. 2018 to May 2019, compared to last year.
During this webinar, we will also provide an update on the new round of tariffs and OIA’s next steps to address this critical economic issue. You can register for the webinar here.

What’s Next?

We will continue to aggressively advocate on behalf of our members before Congress and the administration to eliminate the existing punitive 25 percent tariff on outdoor products and prevent the new 10 percent tariff from being imposed. On September 12, we will organize a series of meetings between OIA members and their elected representatives in Washington, D.C., and an event highlighting the impact of the tariffs on outdoor supply chains. We will develop sign-on letters, draft op-eds, engage the media and keep OIA members fully informed through trade alerts and other updates on developments in the U.S.-China trade war. You can help by doing the following:

  • Sharing your story with OIA and the media: please contact me at for more details
  • Inviting your representatives to your facility during the August recess 
  • Joining us in Washington, D.C., for a day on Capitol Hill