Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) applauds the introduction of the U.S. OUTDOOR Act in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and in the U.S. Senate by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Developed in close consultation with the outdoor industry, the U.S. textile industry, and congressional representatives, this bipartisan piece of legislation will lower costs for outdoor industry businesses, prevent rising retail prices for consumers and spur innovation by U.S. companies.
Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) in the House and Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rob Portman, (R-OH), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the Senate.
“I commend Representatives Reichert and Blumenauer and Senators Cantwell and Ayotte for coming together in a bipartisan effort to support the outdoor recreation industry, a vital part of the economy at the state and national level,” said OIA President and CEO Frank Hugelmeyer. “The U.S. OUTDOOR Act will lower costs for outdoor businesses, fuel innovation, attract more consumers to get outdoors using high-quality, affordable apparel and will create more jobs in the United States. We look forward to the enactment of this important legislation.”
The U.S. OUTDOOR Act:
- creates unique classifications specific to recreation performance outerwear high-tech apparel, designed especially for outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking, skiing or snowboarding, hunting, fishing, paddling and other recreational activities – in the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule; and
- eliminates onerous duties on these new classifications.
The Senate bill also includes the Sustainable Textile and Apparel Research Fund (STAR Fund) that will promote U.S. jobs and technologies through investments in American research programs and services towards sustainable, eco-friendly apparel supply chains.
The commercial manufacturing industry for recreational performance outerwear moved offshore decades ago, primarily following the technological advancements and commercial manufacturing capacity that are required by U.S.-based outdoor companies. According to the International Trade Commission, there is no commercially viable manufacturing of recreational performance outwear in the U.S. In fact, the bill has been thoroughly vetted with the domestic textile and apparel industry to ensure that none of the products covered by the bill are produced in the U.S.
The high tariffs that remain (some as high as 30 percent) make it harder for millions of Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation in our parks and public lands and, at the same time, stifle innovation, economic growth and the creation of new jobs. If enacted, the bill will add to the $646 billion in consumer spending and the 6.1 million jobs generated by the outdoor industry.
“I would like to thank Senator Cantwell and Representative Reichert for their leadership on this legislation that will eliminate unnecessary and excessive tariffs on recreational performance outerwear. If enacted, the U.S. OUTDOOR Act will make it easier to deliver innovative new products to our customers at lower costs,” said Jerry Stritzke, President and Chief Executive Officer of REI.
“The U.S. OUTDOOR Act supports the innovation that drives our business and our industry. We thank Senator Ayotte and Senator Cantwell for their leadership and we urge Congress to pass this important piece of legislation as soon as possible,” said Patrik Frisk, President, Timberland and Coalition President, VF Outdoor America.
OIA encourages its outdoor companies to contact their members of Congress to request support for the legislation.
Rich Harper, Policy Advisor
Outdoor Industry Association
Office (202) 817-2033
Mobile (202) 251-0299
Logo courtesy Outdoor Industry Association