Despite lobbying by the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the Outdoor Industry Association and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, it appears the Republicans' ban on earmarks will include items that provide “limited tariff benefits,” such as those contained in a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) now before Congress.


While the provisions contained in the MTB benefit multiple companies, some Republican leaders maintain that the earmark definition technically covers MTBs. As a result, the party's committment last week to ban earmarks threatens the potential to approve a second tranche of MTBs during the lame duck session of Congress.


Congress approved an MTB bill in July that retroactively renewed temporary tariff relief that had expired Dec. 31, 2009 on dozens of imported sporting goods, including balls, golf and snowsports equipment and outdoor footwear.


The proposed MTB package would provide temporary duty relief to dozens of new footwear, apparel and textile products, including some that would be used to manufacture products in the United States.


Apparel and footwear imports are taxed at the highest tariffs rates of any commodities entering the United States, thanks in large part to the influence of domestic apparel and footwear lobby. 


The AAFA and OIA continue to lobby for passage of the pending MTB package in the lame duck session of Congress.