H.R. 2697, the Affordable Footwear Act (AFA), was reintroduced Friday in the United States House of Representatives by Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS, 2nd), Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY, 7th), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR, 3rd) and Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX, 8th), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Trade.
Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) joined manufacturers and retailers across the outdoor industry in applauding todays introduction. OIA and many member companies, worked hard to develop the legislation that will lower costs for outdoor industry footwear manufacturers and their customers while supporting U.S. production of outdoor footwear products.
With footwear being the fastest growing category in outdoor industry product sales, passage of the Affordable Footwear Act is a top priority for OIA. H.R. 2697 was modeled after successful OIA legislation that has saved outdoor industry companies more than $25 million to date. With the bills passage, the significant savings generated will be reinvested back into product innovation, job creation and lower costs for outdoor consumers.
The AFA would create a three year suspension of many of the disproportionately high import tariffs, some as high as 37.5 percent, that are assessed against outdoor footwear. In fact, many of the high tariffs on outdoor footwear exceed federal taxes on cigarettes, a striking disparity that would be corrected with the AFAs passage.
The bill also ensures U.S. manufacturing that is currently underway in this area remains globally competitive by excluding products with American manufacturing. The bill is also temporary so that domestic production can be reevaluated after four years and products removed where appropriate.
The Affordable Footwear Act is a balanced, well crafted bill that is a win-win for everyone, said OIA President & CEO Frank Hugelmeyer. The lower costs resulting from this bill will allow footwear companies to invest in new product innovation and U.S. jobs and will ultimately lower retail prices making these products more affordable and accessible by a broader range of Americans.
OIA encourages its members to support passage of the Affordable Footwear Act by calling or emailing your representatives and requesting they cosponsor the legislation.