The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) Wednesday afternoon, restoring duty relief for a cornucopia of sport goods, including bicycle parts, outdoor footwear, snow sports equipment, volleyballs, rubber basketballs, leather basketballs, synthetic basketballs, and golf bags that expired on Jan. 1, 2010.

House Democrats passed the legislation under special rules to get around Republican opposition to the bill, which they say is the product of a deeply flawed process. The final vote was 378-43, in favor of the MTB, providing the super majority vote required under House rules. The bill now moves to the Senate.


“Outdoor Industry Association and our member companies are extremely pleased by today's vote in the House,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of Outdoor Industry Association.  “The MTB has several provisions extending duty suspensions on footwear and other outdoor products that over the last three years have saved outdoor companies more than $21 million.  Those savings have allowed companies to reinvest in their businesses, invest in innovation, expand employment opportunities and lower retail costs for their customers.  In addition, the duty suspensions have actually increased exports of U.S made components for these outdoor products.  This is a win-win situation for American businesses and the consumer.”

The new language would reduce the duty on volleyballs from 4.8% to free; the duty on rubber basketballs would drop from 4.8% to 0.7%; the duty on leather basketballs would fall from 4.8% to free; the duty on synthetic basketballs would be lowered from 4.8% to 1.1%; and the duty on golf bags would be cut from 7% to 1.5%. There was duty relief on these products from 2007 through 2009.  The new duty reduction would run through 2012.

OIA also said the MTB contained several outdoor products, including extensions of several duty suspensions on waterproof breathable footwear that OIA guided to Congressional passage in 2006, ski and snowboard equipment and footwear and bicycle parts and accessories.

Bicycle companies will benefit from lower tariffs on tubing, speedometers, road and hydraulic disc brakes and certain rims and cranks. 

The preferred strategy to get the bill through the Senate is to approve the legislation using 'Unanimous Consent,' in order to avoid a recorded vote, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association, which has also been pushing for the legislation. Under 'Unanimous Consent,' a single U.S. Senator can kill the MTB bill with a 'no' vote.  At present, there is no schedule for consideration of the MTB, but it could be taken up at any time.  The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are scheduled to leave Washington, D.C. at the beginning of August and return after Labor Day. 

“The support of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill in the House was long overdue and greatly appreciated,” said Bill Sells, SGMA's vice president of government relations.  “It's now time for us to focus on getting this bill approved by the U.S. Senate and signed by President Obama”

SGMA will continue to work for passage of the MTB and keep the sporting goods industry informed of any developments.

This bill would also allow companies to request retroactive relief from January 1, 2010 by filing a liquidation or reliquidation request within 180 days of passage of the bill, according to OIA. Customs and Border Patrol then has 90 days to process payment.