Industry News 7/17/2008

Progress on Duty Breaks for Performance Outerwear and Ski Poles

Progress on Duty Breaks for Performance Outerwear and Ski Poles

SnowSports Industries America is pleased to announce and fully support the Recreational Performance Outerwear Apparel Act of 2008 (RPOAA) (H.R. 6483), which will eliminate import duties on many items of recreational performance outerwear. The RPOAA was introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 15, by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). SIA has worked with a coalition of outdoor performance apparel manufacturers, including the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), to develop the legislation.

Under the bill, recreational performance outwear is distinguished from other apparel for purposes of duty-free treatment as high-tech apparel, particularly jackets and pants, specifically designed for outdoor recreation activities in challenging conditions (snow sports, mountain climbing, water sports, biking). These items are unique in design, components, construction, and end-use from other apparel items currently imported under the same U.S. Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) lines.

The RPOAA is of particular importance to SIA members because U.S. tariffs on recreational performance outwear are some of the highest the United States imposes on imports (e.g,. a knit performance outwear jacket is subject to a 28% duty). Since these high duties are no longer protecting a domestic industry they cause unnecessary harm to US outdoor apparel companies.

SIA members should note that the legislation was developed in close consultation with the U.S. textile and apparel industry and provisions have been included in the legislation to protect manufacturing in the Western Hemisphere, specifically in the CAFTA and NAFTA regions, and the fabric inputs shipped to those regions from the United States. The bill also invests substantial resources in U.S. technology that focuses on sustainable, environmentally-conscious manufacturing by helping textile and apparel producers streamline their supply chains, minimize water and energy use, and reduce their overall environmental footprint.

Separately, SIA is working with Representative Wally Herger's (R-CA) office to suspend duties on ski poles through the end of 2011. The bill to accomplish the duty suspension would be passed as part of the larger Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which has not yet been introduced in the Congress. If the MTB becomes law, it would save U.S. importers of ski poles nearly $300,000 of tariff duties.

SIA will keep its members apprised as to the progress of both the RPOAA and the ski poll tariff suspension bill through the Congress.