Members of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) are making their case before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), describing just 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 all testifying at public hearings this week and next.
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 over $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 has had an adverse impact on the recreational community. From running shoes to boats, RVs and other motorized and non-motorized equipment, recreation is being caught in the crosshairs.
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, our allies have retaliated against key American-made recreational products, with devastating export tariffs. Recreation is being squeezed at both ends, with higher input costs and lost export sales.
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. History has shown that tariffs are ultimately counterproductive and injurious to American companies, workers and consumers.