Trump Tariffs May Mean Massive Cost Increases for Outdoor Products

President Trump orders $60 billion in new tariffs on products from China

By Rich Harper March 22, 2018

In what could be a severe blow to the outdoor industry, the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy and the broader U.S. economy, President Trump announced today that the United States would impose $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs on a broad range of products imported from China.

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer recently issued a report that China is stealing American intellectual property (IP). In response, President Trump announced new, 25% tariffs on certain imports from China. USTR will more specifically identify the products that the president will subject to these tariffs within the next 15 days. There will also be a public comment period to petition for the exemption of products from that list.

Once the tariffs go into effect, they will remain in place until the president determines that China has met U.S. demands to improve its protection of intellectual property rights and prohibit illegal technology transfers.

China will likely challenge the tariffs with the World Trade Organization (WTO), and that could ignite a trade war between the top two economic powers in the world.

The outdoor industry already faces some of the highest tariffs applied by the United States, with an average rate of 17 percent compared with an average of less than 3 percent on most other products. In a letter to President Trump sent earlier this week, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and 16 other trade associations pointed out that imports of apparel, footwear and travel goods from China already face substantial import tariffs, including 37.5 percent on hiking boots, 27.7 percent on ski jackets and 17.6 percent on backpacks. Dozens of other organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have expressed opposition to the president’s action.

“Today’s announcement could drastically impact the cost of outdoor apparel and footwear that Americans enjoy wearing every day,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of OIA. “These products are already heavily taxed, and if they are included in the final list of products subject to retaliatory tariffs, it will threaten good paying American jobs and would make it harder and more expensive for Americans to enjoy healthy and active outdoor lifestyles.”

Roberts continued, “IP infringements and counterfeit goods from China are significant problems to the outdoor industry and to the U.S. economy, and OIA opposes these retaliatory tariffs. We encourage the administration to pursue a more targeted approach that addresses legitimate concerns about China’s IP practices, without raising costs on outdoor manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and consumers.”

OIA is pursuing legislative and administrative options to ensure that outdoor products are not included in this order.

Please contact Rich Harper to share your story and find out how you can get involved.