The Outdoor Industry Association is working on legislation that would eliminate import duties on recreational-use performance outerwear apparel, while simultaneously enhancing an established, U.S.-based training and education program for American textile and apparel workers, the trade organizaiton reported in its weekly newsletter today.

The legislation is still being hammered out between importers of performance outerwear and the domestic textile and apparel industry, but is expected to be introduced later this monthby U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) recently found that there was no commercially viable U.S. production of performance outerwear used for skiing and snowboarding, hunting and other outdoor activities. In response, Representative Blumenauer has been working with OIA and its members to develop legislation that would reflect the ITC's findings, while also investing in U.S. jobs. The legislation provides duty-free treatment for qualified recreational-use performance outerwear, but proposes a short-term assessment to establish the Sustainable Textile and Apparel Research (STAR) fund.

The STAR fund would invest revenue generated by the assessment in a training program that specializes in lean manufacturing technologies and supply chain analysis, including helping companies work towards minimizing energy and water use, reducing waste and carbon emissions and incorporating sustainable practices into a product's entire life cycle.

OIA anticipates broad Congressional support for the legislation and believes it represents a “win-win-win” opportunity for the outdoor industry, U.S. textile and apparel workers and ultimately American consumers.