Outdoor footwear retailers and vendors got mixed news Thursday when the House Ways & Means Committee posted a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill that would restore duty relief on trail runners and other outdoor products retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, but at higher rates than stipulated in the bill that expired last year.

Congress had failed to renew the MTB last year, causing tariffs on rapidly growing categories of waterproof/breathable footwear to rise to the maximum 37.5%. Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the American Apparel and Footwear Association have been working ever since to have Congress revisit the legislation, which is typically renewed every two years.
The good news is that the House Ways and Means Committee has posted the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) on its website for public review Thursday. All MTBs, whether new or extensions, will expire Dec. 31, 2012 and are retroactive to January 1, 2010.
The bad news is that while the bill renews duty relief for several types of footwear, it does so at higher rates than were in effect in from 2007 through 2009.
In a trade alert alert sent to some OIA members, OIA Director of Trade Policy Alex Boian said the bill does include extensions of OIA's 2006 miscellaneous tariff bills related to waterproof/breathable footwear, but does adjust tariff rates for the following Harmonized Tarriff Schedule entries:
  • 9902.25.60 (6404.19.2030) – men's footwear covering the ankle valued over $20 – goes from 12.8% to 16.5% (normally 37.5%)
  • 9902.25.61 (6404.19.2030) – men's not covering the ankle valued over $20 – goes from 15.2% to 17.5% (normally 37.5%)
  • 9902.23.78 (6402.99.3350) – women's footwear valued over $20 -goes from zero duty to 13.6% (normally 37.5%)
  • 9902.23.77 (6402.99.3320) – men's footwear valued over $20 – goes from zero duty to 27.6% (normally 37.5%)
  • 9902.23.82 (6404.19.2060) – women's footwear valued over $20 covering the ankle – remains zero duty (normally 37.5%)
  • 9902.23.83 (6404.19.2060) – women's footwear valued over $20 NOT covering the ankle – remains zero duty (normally 37.5%)
  • 9902.23.76 (6402.91.5020) – men's footwear valued over $20 with the height not exceeding 8 inches -goes from zero duty to 24.7% (normally 37.5%)
  • 9902.23.75 (6402.91.5050) – women's footwear valued over $20 with the height not exceeding 8 inches – goes from zero duty to 25% (normally 37.5%)

While noting the bill marks progress, Boian said the increase in suspended duty rates demonstrate the necessity for passage of another legislative priority of OIA – the Affordable Footwear Act (S. 730). While the MTB suspends duties for two years at a time, S. 730 would permanently eliminate tariffs on hundreds of types of footwear imported annually into the United States. Apparel and footwear tariff's still constitute the bulk of U.S. tarriff revenues.

Other noteworthy extensions of duty relief under the proposed MTB bill for the outdoor industry, include:

  • 9902.64.04 – extends the temporary suspension of duty on certain ski boots, cross country ski footwear, and snowboard boots remain duty free.
  • 9902.23.85 – extends the temporary suspension of duty on lug bottom boots for use in fishing waders – to no duty.
  • 9902.24.69 – extends the temporary suspension of duty on bicycle wheel rims- to no zero duty.
  • 9902.24.65 – extends the temporary suspension of duty on bicycle speedometers.

o    Importers have 180 days after enactment of the legislation to file a liquidation or reliquidation request and CBP then has 90 days to process payment

It is important to note that the Draft Manager’s Amendment does NOT include new duty suspension bills that were introduced ONLY in the House or ONLY in the Senate.


The posting of the MTB on the House Ways and Means website signals the potential movement of the MTB this year.  Earlier this year, however, House Republican Leadership sought to ban its members from sponsoring MTBs that are considered “limited tariff benefits” or benefit fewer than 10 entities.  It is unclear, therefore, whether the House bill will receive Republican support.


The Senate has also been holding off on acting on the MTB until the House introduced their version.  It is unclear as to timing, but there is a possibility the Senate might now proceed with its bill (or possibly wait until the House actually passes the bill).


It is highly unlikely, however, that the MTB will pass Congress prior to the November elections and may be delayed until a post election “lame duck” session.