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BOULDER, CO (July 15, 2008) â€“ Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) was instrumental in developing the first ever trade legislation specifically for outdoor performance apparel manufacturers and thrilled with the introduction of the Recreational Performance Outerwear Act of 2008 (H.R. 6483) on Tuesday.
The bill, introduced by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), creates new classifications for specific types of high performance recreational outerwear, makes those specific products duty free and invests in U.S. technologies and jobs that focus on sustainable, environmentally conscious manufacturing and streamlined supply chains. â€œAfter two years of hard work, I am pleased to offer a bill that helps both American businesses and consumers by removing unnecessary tariffs on outdoor apparel,â€ said Rep. Blumenauer. â€œMy bill also funds research in environmental technologies to make the production of outdoor apparel as environmentally sound as possible. Oregon offers some of the greatest outdoor sports in the world. My bill will lower the cost of recreational apparel so more people can gear up for the outdoors at a lower price.â€
Working closely with Mr. Blumenauer, the OIA Government Affairs team has spent two years working on this important legislation on behalf of the outdoor industry. The high tariffs in question have remained unchanged for decades, despite significant technological advances in performance outerwear manufacturing. For example, high-tech ski pants are currently classified in the same general category as polyester dress slacks and high-performance jackets are taxed in the same category as generic windbreakers. A July, 2007 report by the International Trade Commission (ITC) found there is no commercially viable production of recreational performance outerwear in the United States, highlighting the need for legislation to correct what amounts to a regressive tax on outdoor industry businesses.
The legislation applies to all finished recreational performance outerwear, regardless of country of origin and was developed in close consultation with the U.S. textile and apparel industry. Provisions are included in the bill to specifically protect U.S. fabric manufacturers and Western Hemisphere apparel manufacturers and to invest in research and development jobs in the United States.
â€œThe Recreational Performance Outerwear Apparel Act focuses on specific, high performance outerwear and separates these specialty outdoor products from general, mass market apparel,â€ said Frank Hugelmeyer, OIA president. â€œThis bill is an â€˜everybody wins’ proposition: Outdoor apparel manufacturers receive appropriate and needed relief from outdated, excessively high tariffs; U.S. textile firms shipping inputs for more basic outerwear production in NAFTA and CAFTA countries are protected; American consumers gain access to more affordable outdoor products; and the environment wins through the investment in U.S. technology that enables sustainable business practices here at home and around the world.â€
About Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry AssociationÂ® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for over 4000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business-to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Educational events include the annual Rendezvous, Outdoor University, and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information go to www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.