With less than a month remaining before another round of tariffs are due to take effect, new data indicates the outdoor industry has already paid billions of dollars in duties this year.
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor companies this year have already been hit with an additional $2.6 billion in levies in 2018. Even more, September marked the first time that tariffs on Chinese imports exceeded $1 billion in a single month.
“The China tariffs are looking more and more like a giant avalanche that’s trying to bury many outdoor businesses,” VP of government affairs Patricia Rojas-Ungar said in a statement Tuesday. “American outdoor companies are managing this new economic hardship as best 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.”
In the past year and a half, the United States and China have slapped tit-for-tat duties on billions of dollars in items coming from both countries. The first round of the fourth tranche of tariffs took effect on Sept. 1, with President Donald Trump slapping a 15% levy on a wide range of outdoor consumer goods, including hiking boots, ski jackets and other outdoor equipment. Now, for instance, a pair of hiking boots that faced a 37.5% tariff has a duty rate of 52.5%.
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Data from the outdoor industry showed that the value of the products affected by tariffs more than tripled from August to September. Further, it found that duties on outdoor footwear, compared with the previous year, shot up nearly $60 million, while apparel and outdoor equipment were each taxed $100 million more in levies.
Today, outdoor businesses are bracing for the next 15% tariff bump on the fourth tranche’s second round, set to take effect on Dec. 15. In a Cabinet meeting Tuesday at the White House, Trump warned that he would further raise tariffs on Chinese imports if the two countries fail to reach a so-called “phase one” agreement that would end their prolonged trade war.
“We are eager to see a ‘phase one’ deal come to fruition as the president has proposed but would like that deal to include a complete rollback of all existing tariffs on outdoor goods and products,” Rojas-Ungar added. “It will take months for one of America’s strongest industries to dig out of this economic mess, and we’d like to get that process started right away.”
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