U.S. Congressmen Mike Thompson (D-CA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Greg Walden, (R-OR), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Erik Paulsen (R-MN) on Thursday introduced the bipartisan U.S. Optimal Use of Trade to Develop Outerwear and Outdoor Recreation (OUTDOOR) Act (H.R. 5646) to reduce tariffs on recreational performance apparel.
The legislation would make products like jackets and pants more affordable for American consumers, encourage participation in outdoor activities, and help designers and retailers of performance apparel better compete in the global economy.
In a joint statement the Congressmen said, “The American Dream is built on the idea of exploration and economic success, and the OUTDOOR Act works to promote both of those concepts and make them a reality. From canoeing mountain climbing, Americans have found ways to enjoy the outdoors in every season of the year, and outfitting them with innovative apparel is the basis of a major job-creating industry. This legislation is a needed update to antiquated and unreasonably high tariffs set on recreational performance apparel, and more importantly it will help employers grow their businesses, remove a hidden tax on consumers, and continue to foster interest in America’s outdoor recreation.”
“I commend the Representatives 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.”
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, American consumers spend over $640 billion each year on outdoor recreation, in so doing supporting an industry that is directly and indirectly tied to 12 million American jobs. H.R. 5646 creates new Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) breakouts for both knit and woven recreational performance outerwear and changes tariff rates for these clothing items to duty-free, thereby eliminating the “hidden tax” on these goods.
Congressman Mike Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.