Outdoor Industry Association Applauds Introduction of the U.S. OUTDOOR Act of 2015

April 17, 2015

Media Contact

Media contact:
Gareth Martins                                                                                            
Outdoor Industry Association
(303) 327-3539
gmartins@outdoorindustry.org

Boulder, Colo.

OutdoorIndustry Association® (OIA) applauds the introduction of the U.S. OUTDOOR Act in the Senate today by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Introduction into  the House by Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA 8) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3) is imminent. This bi-partisan piece of legislation will lower costs for outdoor companies and their consumers, fuel innovation and encourage more Americans to enjoy the great outdoors.  The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the Senate.

“I commend Senator Ayotte, Senator Cantwell, Representative Reichert and Representative Blumenauer for their leadership and support for outdoor companies and their consumers across the country. This common sense piece of legislation will add to the $646 billion in consumer spending and 6.1 million jobs generated by outdoor recreation every year. We look forward to seeing the OUTDOOR Act signed into law,” said Steve Barker, Interim Executive Director of Outdoor Industry Association.

The U.S. OUTDOOR Act:

  • Creates new definitions and tariff classifications in the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule for “recreational performance outerwear” and
  • Eliminates the import duties on these products

The Senate bill also establishes the Sustainable Textile and Apparel Research (STAR) fund to promote U.S. jobs and technologies by supporting the research and development of sustainable textile and apparel supply chains.

Recreational performance outerwear is unique, high-tech apparel ­­- primarily jackets and pants – designed specifically to withstand the rigors of outdoor recreation. Despite the fact that the International Trade Commission has found that there is no commercially meaningful domestic production of these products, they face import tariffs as high as 30 percent.

These higher costs stifle the innovation that the outdoor industry is known for, hamper economic growth and the creation of new jobs and make it harder for millions of Americans to enjoy our national parks and public lands across the country.  Similar legislative initiatives have saved outdoor companies more than $30 million and have led to better products, more jobs and more outdoor enthusiasts.

“The U.S. OUTDOOR Act is a critical piece of legislation for the outdoor industry,” said Stewart Whitney, president of Timberland.  “Lower tariffs on outdoor gear ultimately translate into greater innovation and consumer participation in outdoor recreation. That’s good for the consumer, and good for business. We applaud the efforts and leadership of Senators Ayotte and Cantwell, Representatives Reichert and Blumenauer and urge Congress to pass this important piece of legislation.”

As a part of its balanced trade agenda, OIA worked closely with the U.S. textile and apparel industry to ensure that this current legislation does not cover any products that are manufactured in the U.S.

“I would like to thank Representative Reichert and Senator Cantwell for their leadership on this legislation that will eliminate unnecessary and excessive tariffs on recreational performance outerwear.  If enacted, the U.S. OUTDOOR Act will make it easier to deliver innovative new products to our customers at lower costs,” said Jerry Stritzke, President and Chief Executive Officer of REI.

OIA encourages its members to contact their elected officials to request their support for this legislation.

Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, CO, with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.