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Association Representing Outdoor Industry Decries Impact of Section 301 Tariffs

The U.S. Outdoor Industry Association recently released a statement decrying the effect on their members of the Section 301 tariffs that are being applied on a growing share of U.S. imports from mainland China. OIA noted that total tariffs paid by American outdoor businesses exceeded US$1 billion for a single month for the first time in September. Additionally, the total value of outdoor product imports impacted by the Section 301 tariffs more than tripled from US$1.3 billion in August to US$4.1 billion in September.

The additional tariffs that were implemented in September largely fell on apparel and footwear products that already face some of America’s highest tariff rates. OIA provided the example of a pair of hiking boots that had previously been subject to a 37.5 percent tariff and which now face an effective tariff rate of 52.5 percent.

OIA is concerned that other outdoor products will become subject to a 15 percent tariff on 15 December, when the next round of additional tariffs is scheduled to go into effect. Most of these goods are in categories where mainland Chinese exports account for over 75 percent of U.S. imports, complicating any attempts to find alternative sources of supply for many of these specialised outdoor products.

Fred Ferguson, vice president of public affairs for Vista Outdoor, argued against the inclusion of safety helmets in the Section 301 lists because the United States “should be encouraging the use of helmets for children and outdoor enthusiasts”. The administration had previously removed tariffs on the helmet category but those products were added back as part of List 4. Safety helmets from mainland China are facing additional tariffs despite commitments by the administration to provide tariff exemptions based on health and safety considerations.

Patricia Rojas-Ungar, OIA vice president of government affairs, added that “American outdoor companies are managing this new economic hardship as best as they can while also bracing for what is yet to come – making it an uphill battle to properly plan for job expansion or product development.”

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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