Industry News 11/9/2005

SIA'S Effort to Prevent Trade Restrictions on Ski/Snowboard Pants and Jackets are Successful!

SIA'S Effort to Prevent Trade Restrictions on Ski/Snowboard Pants and Jackets are Successful!

The United States and China announced an agreement today to limit imports of certain apparel products from China over the next three years. At SIA's request, the agreement explicitly excludes ski and snowboard pants from any import restrictions. It also places no limits on imports of ski jackets from China.

On November 1, 2005, the U.S. government unilaterally excluded ski/snowboard pants from the quota that has blocked Chinese imports of those categories since June. Ski/snowboard pants were the only products that were granted a 'carve-out' from the original 2005 quota since there is literally no domestic production of these particular products in the U.S. The agreement announced today maintains this status for the years 2006 through 2008.

Additionally, the U.S.-China agreement now places no restrictions on jackets from China for the same reason cited above. It is unlikely that new restrictions will be placed on ski jackets in 2006 through 2008 since the U.S.-China agreement calls on the U.S. to exercise "restraint" before imposing any restrictions on jackets and other products not already restricted by the agreement. As a result, it would be difficult to impose restrictions on these goods without violating the U.S. commitment of "restraint." Because the legal authority to impose quotas on apparel goods from China expires after 2008, no import barriers for ski jackets or pants are foreseeable beyond that date.

"Today's announcement follows last week's decision to lift the import ban on ski/snowboard pants that had affected imports since June," said David Ingemie, President of Snowsports Industries Association. He added, "We are very pleased that our request to keep the U.S. market open for ski/snowboard pants and jackets from China has been granted. This agreement will allow suppliers to make decisions with confidence that the U.S. market should remain open and that U.S. consumers will have access to the widest array of these products."

The effort was six months long and included the involvement and support of SIA's law firm DLA Piper, SIA member companies, snow sport retailers and several Senators and Representatives. The process provided SIA the tools to work directly with the Department of Commerce. SIA provided Commerce with research and factual information that resulted in the decision that will help hundreds of small companies within the supplier, retail and independent representative business categories in protecting their jobs and businesses.

SIA is thankful to all of those parties who assisted in the process.

Below is the definition adopted for the carve-out:

The term The term "ski/snowboard pants" means ankle-length pants made of synthetic fabrics, with or without insulation for cold weather protection, with zippered or hook and loop enclosed pockets, sealed seams and hidden elastic Ieg sleeves, and with one or more of the following: side openings, scuff guards or reinforcement in the seat. A sealed seam is one that has been covered, on the backside of the fabric, with tape or a coating to "bridge" the seam so that air and water cannot pass through. The tape or coating may be applied using heat and/ or pressure.

At this time no special procedures are required for importers. However, we recommend that all members print out a copy of the notice and have it on hand in case local agents are not up to speed on the exemption. Additionally, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary have made a special call to Customs to ensure the word gets out. To print a copy of the notice, click here.

USTR (United States Trade Representative) - 
  Facts on Textiles -
  Office of the United States Trade Representative
  Policy Brief - November 2005

http://www.ustr.gov/assets/Document_Library/Fact_Sheets/2005/asset_upload
_file813_8339.pdf

Federal Register - Ski Pants Safeguard Petition Denied
                     Federal Register: November 1, 2005 (Vol. 70 No. 209)

http://frwebgate5.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate.cgi?WAISdocID=554856244817+1+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve