Bill Would Reduce Tariffs On Performance Apparel
June 7, 2011
bill introduced in the House of Representatives last week would reduce tariffs
on performance apparel. If enacted, the U.S. Optimal Use of Trade to Develop
Outerwear and Outdoor Recreation Act would create harmonized tariff schedule
breakouts for knit and woven recreational performance outerwear and change
tariff rates for these items to duty free, eliminating
what bill sponsors say is a "hidden tax." Current duties far exceed
state sales, supporters say.
The upshot of
reduced tariffs is that shirts, jackets and pants made for performance
activities would be more affordable for consumers and help domestic designers
and vendors better compete in the global economy, the bill's sponsors maintain.
enjoyment and exploration of the outdoors is not just a cornerstone of American
recreation, but it is also the basis of a major job-creating industry,"
said Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), lead co-sponsor of the bill along with
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). "Many local businesses cater to this
adventurous spirit, and I am happy to have found yet another instance in which
smart trade policy can help these employers spur growth, remove a hidden tax on
consumers, and foster greater interest in outdoor recreation. This bill is a
needed update to the antiquated, unreasonably high tariffs set on recreational
performance apparel that will both boost sales and enable families to more
affordably outfit themselves for weekend camping trips and summer
Major outdoor clothing
brands like REI and Columbia support the legislation. "The U.S. Outdoor Act helps
encourage development of innovative and affordable performance outerwear, which
in turn supports enjoyment of the outdoors by consumers," says Matt Hyde,
executive vice president of REI.
United States International Trade Commission and the Committee for
Implementation of Textile agreements have concluded that imports of
recreational performance apparel will not disrupt domestic markets or adversely
affect domestic producers.