ORR Members Testify That Tariffs Harm RecreationPublished on June 24, 2019
Members of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) are testifying before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), describing how proposed Section 301 tariffs will hurt the outdoor recreation industry and American consumers. Tom Cove (president and CEO, Sports and Fitness Industry Association), Glenn Hughes (president, American Sportfishing Association), Scott Schloegel (senior vice president for government relations, Motorcycle Industry Council) and Nicole Vasilaros (senior vice president for government and legal affairs, National Marine Manufacturers Association) are presenting arguments this week and were testifying last week as well.
According to the group, outdoor recreation relies on free and fair trade to sustain the thousands of businesses that make up an industry that accounts for 2.2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, supports 4.5 million jobs, contributes more than $734 billion in goods and services and is growing faster than the economy as a whole.
The current administration’s practice of levying tariffs on a wide variety of products, from running shoes to boats, RVs and other motorized and non-motorized equipment, has had an adverse impact on the recreational community.
Outdoor recreation is also facing tariffs on raw materials such as steel, aluminum, fiberglass and upholstery, as well as component parts essential to manufacturing countless products. In addition, allies of the industry have retaliated against key American-made recreational products, with export tariffs. Recreation is facing higher input costs and lost export sales.
ORR indicates that ultimately the consumer will pay the price, as most manufacturers are unable to absorb all of the recent additional tariff costs. This will make outdoor recreation less affordable to Americans and could stymie economic growth in a vibrant manufacturing and retail sector.
ORR supports the protection of intellectual property rights and leveling the playing field to unfair competition, but these tariffs threaten the health of our robust outdoor economy.