America’s outdoor recreation businesses have paid $1.8 billion more in tariffs over the last 11 months (September 2018 to July 2019) compared to the previous period a year ago on affected outdoor products, according to the latest figures from Outdoor Industry Association.

New data compiled and analyzed by OIA’s Trade Partnership includes the toll of tariffs on a variety of outdoor recreation equipment including backpacks, camp chairs, leather ski gloves, kayaks and bicycles, which are saddled with the 25 percent punitive tariffs, causing the average tariff rate on outdoor equipment to more than double compared to the previous year. Since the start of the trade war with China last year, outdoor industry companies have paid nearly three times the number of tariffs on outdoor products hit with Section 301 China tariffs for a total of $2.8 billion.

“The trade war is wreaking havoc on the American outdoor industry, among many others,” said Patricia Rojas-Ungar, vice president of government affairs at OIA. “As we have said before, the numbers do not lie, American outdoor businesses have paid an extra $1.8 billion in tariffs since the trade war started, nearly triple what we paid last year. The punitive tariff payments are essentially new taxes on American businesses and consumers, forcing American companies to halt new hiring, close new product lines and absorb these unexpected costs wherever they can. The cushion is now essentially gone. We are urging Congress to get off the sidelines and help put an end to this destructive tariff policy that is hurting Americans from coast to coast.”

“We are here in Washington to communicate to Congress the increasingly negative impacts tariffs are having on our ability to continue to grow American jobs, said Brent Merriam, COO of Nemo Equipment. “We are a small, founder-led business that produces performance outdoor gear including tents, camp chairs and sleeping bags. The punitive tariffs threaten our ability to bring these innovative products to market, with the end results being increased costs, limited investment in new products and personnel, and potentially higher prices for our consumers. We implore Congress to work with President Trump to end the trade war with China.”

American outdoor industry manufacturers and retailers are holding off on filling jobs, expanding facilities and developing new products due to the economic strain the tariffs are having on their operations because they themselves are paying the tariffs, not China. If the trade war wages on for much longer American outdoor industry manufacturers and retailers will be forced to eliminate products, cut jobs, or in some cases, go out of business altogether. At some point, if they have not already, consumers will feel the impact of higher prices on outdoor products – from hiking shoes to ski jackets and everything in between.

OIA will continue to update and release the industry’s tariff payments as the U.S.-China trade war wears on, so that American consumers are aware of the real impacts to an escalation strategy rather than talks and diplomacy. The organization said it hopes a trade deal can be reached and that all punitive tariffs will be removed.

Photo courtesy Nemo