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Lawmakers introduce bill to reduce tariffs on some outdoor clothing

Published April 17, 2015

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Two U.S. Senators have introduced legislation that would lower tariffs — currently as high as 30 percent — on some types of "recreational performance outerwear." Some cycling rain gear might be included in the clothing items that would see a tariff reduction.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the bill Wednesday. It is co-sponsored by senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the Senate and will be introduced by Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA 8) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3) in the House.

The Outdoor Industry Association led a group of outdoor industry executives who were in Washington this week lobbying for this legislation.

Steve Barker, the interim executive director of the OIA, said the legislation would "add to the $646 billion in consumer spending and 6.1 million jobs generated by outdoor recreation every year."

The U.S. OUTDOOR Act would create new definitions and tariff classifications in the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule for "recreational performance outerwear" and eliminate 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.

According to the OIA, the bill would pull out the recreational performance outerwear from other categories. The new category would include clothing designed specifically to withstand the rigors of outdoor recreation. The OIA cited an International Trade Commission report that found "there is no commercially meaningful domestic production of these products."

"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 OIA said.

According to the OIA, the legislation would apply to clothing that meets certain criteria including being water proof or water resistant, with sealed seams and other features. 

Topics associated with this article: Tariffs

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