Trade Policy

We work to ensure that U.S. federal trade policy fosters and promotes a stable, predictable and cost-saving environment for all businesses.

We use a balanced trade policy strategy to seek tariff eliminations on outdoor products that have no commercially viable domestic production and for those products that are made in America, we promote federal policies that support U.S. manufacturers and help them transition to competition in a global economy.



Outdoor companies produce some of the most high-tech, innovative products in the world designed to enhance the outdoor experience. These are unique products, distinct from ready-made mass-market goods that often fall under the same categories in the US Harmonized Tariff Schedule. While the average import tariff is less than 2 percent, outdoor products face on an import tariff on average of about 14 percent and as high as 17.6 percent for a backpack, 32 percent for a polar fleece jacket and 37.5 percent for pair of hiking boots with a waterproof, breathable liner.


Using the “balanced trade” approach OIA has been able to pursue individual trade initiatives specific to the outdoor industry that have relieved outdoor businesses of the outdated and unnecessarily high import tariffs. Wins include:
  • Making travel goods, (backpacks and sports bags) duty-free from Generalized System of Preferences beneficiary countries (Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Burma, Cambodia and others). In 2019, duty savings form this initiative were $300 million.
  • A package of footwear Miscellaneous Tariff Bills (MTBs) that have saved outdoor companies $40 million.
  • The creation of specific categories in the US Harmonized Tariff Schedule for Recreation Performance Outerwear to distinguish these outdoor products from other types of apparel.
  • Lowering the import tariff on certain types of outdoor footwear with a waterproof breathable liner from 37.5 percent to 20 percent.
  • The elimination of Japan’s tariff and quota on US-made leather footwear in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (The Trump administration subsequently removed the US from this agreement).
  • Exclusions from the China punitive tariffs for bikes, helmets, some travel goods and camp chairs.

Trade Alerts 

We’ll email you trade alerts when policy shifts in Washington have the potential to cause a significant impact on your business.

Rich Harper

Director of Government Affairs




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