The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) submitted a petition to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Thursday seeking to eliminate import tariffs of 4.5 to 20 percent on sport bags and backpacks eligible for duty-free treatment under a new trade provision.

The petition seeks to take advantage of a new provision introduced by Congress when they reauthorized the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) this summer. The GSP allows manufacturers to reduce or eliminate duties on products imported from 122 countries under specific tariff lines in HTS chapter 42 via a lengthy and arcane petition process.

In late August, the federal government announced the rules for the petition process and gave manufacturers until Oct. 16, 2015 to submit their petitions.  Given the short turnaround time and the detailed and technical petition process, SFIA retained an outside trade specialist to ensure the necessary information was included and the petitions were filed properly.  

“This is a great opportunity for our members to realize millions in tariff savings on sports bags and backpacks,” said SFIA President, Tom Cove. “With the short window to process and file petitions, SFIA recognized the need to assist our members and jumped in with our knowledge and resources to get them included in the petition process.

The coordinated petition for sports bags and backpacks was submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in compliance with the petition deadline.  The USTR and ITC will review the petitions in advance of hearings.  SFIA will participate in hearings and engage its members as needed to ensure success.  The USTR will announce the petition outcomes in May or June 2016 and products granted GSP status will receive the duty-relief beginning July 1, 2016.

HTS codes for sports bags and backpacks covered under GSP:

4202910030 (4.5%)             4202921500 (6.3%)
4202922000 (5.7%)             4202923020 (17.6%)
4202923031 (17.6%)           4202923091 (17.6%)
4202924500 (20%)              4202929026 (17.6%)
4202929060 (17.6%)           4202999000 (20%)