Citing a surge of imports from Bangladesh, Exxel Outdoors, Inc. has persuaded the Obama Administration to consider removing synthetic filled sleeping bags from the list of products enjoying duty-free entry into the U.S. under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
In a Jan. 15 petition filed with the office of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and backed by both Democratic and Republican senators, Exxel argued that the sleeping bags never should have been eligible for GSP treatment because they are textile products. The error was overlooked until last year when Exxel began losing contracts with U.S. retailers to importers sourcing sleeping bags from Bangladesh.
The International Trade Commission is expected to begin its study of the matter this week — including whether the imports have harmed Exxel or other domestic producers — by soliciting public comment in the Federal Register. Kirk has asked that the ITC report its findings to an interagency panel by April 12. Should the government find in Exxel’s favor, the bags would be assessed at the Most Favored Nation tariff level of 9%, or what is paid on sleeping bags imported from China and Vietnam.
Specifically, Exxel is seeking to revoke GSP treatment for sleeping bags classified under the HTSUS No. 9404.30.8000, which covers family sleeping bags not containing 20% or more by weight of feathers and/or down. These are sold largely for use by children under private label by mass and discount retailers like Walmart. They generally retail for less than $25.