Boulder, CO, Jun 02, 2011 –
Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have introduced the United States Optimal Use of Trade to Develop Outerwear and Outdoor Recreation (“U.S. OUTDOOR”) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) applauded the introduction and thanked Congressman Reichert and Congressman Blumenauer for their tireless efforts to get this important legislation introduced.
The U.S. OUTDOOR Act would create new classifications within the U.S Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) that are specific and unique to “recreational performance outerwear” – apparel used for hiking, fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities where protection from the elements is essential. The legislation would make imports under those classifications duty free, reflecting an International Trade Commission report that showed there is no commercially viable production of recreational performance outerwear in the United States.
The U.S. OUTDOOR Act is the top trade priority for OIA and represents several years of development by a broad spectrum of businesses in the outdoor industry and OIA, in conjunction with the American textile and apparel industry.
“The sale of performance outerwear for hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, paddling and other outdoor activities is a major driver of business for outdoor companies. The U.S. OUTDOOR Act helps encourage the development of innovative and affordable performance outerwear, which in turn supports the enjoyment of the outdoors by consumers,” said Matt Hyde, executive vice president of REI. “We appreciate the leadership of Congressman Reichert and the other sponsors in supporting a vibrant and growing industry that benefits both the economy and the promotion of healthy, active outdoor activities.”
The U.S. OUTDOOR Act specifically addresses an unnecessary barrier to participation in outdoor activities by Americans. The disproportionately high tariffs assessed against recreational performance outerwear can add as much as 28 percent to its retail cost. This is supported by a recent study by The Outdoor Foundation, which found that among young adults ages 18 to 24, hesitation about spending money on gear and equipment is the third most cited reason limiting outdoor activities.
“We view today’s introduction of the U.S. OUTDOOR Act as a postive step for U.S. consumers and specialty retailers of outdoor products,” said Outdoor Research Vice President Clark Campbell. “As both an importer and domestic manufacturer of outdoor products, we endorse legislation that will lower our costs, allowing us to invest in new product innovations and employment opportunities at our headquarters in Seattle. We are grateful to Congressman Reichert for introducing the U.S. OUTDOOR Act and for his support of the outdoor industry.”
OIA is organizing several trips to Washington, D.C. to bring additional co-sponsors for the U.S. OUTDOOR Act in both the House and Senate and invite OIA members to participate in those meetings. OIA also encourages its outdoor companies to contact their members of Congress to request support for the legislation.