When I first saw that headline (above) my initial reaction was "are you serious - don't these guys have anything else better to do!". But after clicking on the link and reading the press release, I realized this was probably something that should've been done a long time ago. Number one, I believe in free trade and open markets. And, since I spend a lot of time playing outdoors, this bill appears to potentially save me some money on footwear in the future.
Here's the release from the Outdoor Industry Association:
Senate bill S. 1069, the Affordable Footwear Act, has been introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a longtime champion for the outdoor industry, and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO). Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) hailed the introduction of the legislation that will lower costs for outdoor industry footwear manufacturers and their customers while supporting U.S. production of outdoor shoes and boots.
The Affordable Footwear Act would create a four-year suspension of many of the disproportionately high import tariffs, some as high as 37.5 percent, that are assessed against outdoor footwear. The bill also ensures U.S. manufacturing that is currently underway in this area remains globally competitive by excluding any product with American production and preventing tariff engineering that undermines U.S. footwear producers. The bill is also temporary so that domestic production can be reevaluated after four years and products removed where appropriate.
With footwear being the fastest growing category in outdoor industry product sales, passage of the Affordable Footwear Act is a top priority for OIA. S. 1069 was developed in close consultation with OIA members that produce footwear in the United States and was modeled after successful OIA legislation that has saved the outdoor industry more than $25 million to date. With the bill’s passage, the significant savings generated will be reinvested back into product innovation, job creation and lower costs for outdoor consumers.
“The Affordable Footwear Act is a win-win for everyone,” said OIA President & CEO Frank Hugelmeyer. “The lower costs from this bill will allow footwear companies to invest in new product innovation and American jobs and will ultimately benefit their customers.”
Many of the footwear products included in the Affordable Footwear Act were previously included in several miscellaneous tariff bills that OIA guided to passage in 2006 and were renewed in 2010. Those bills have saved outdoor companies $5 – $7 million annually. The footwear act also adds certain leather hiking boots and additional footwear products.
OIA encourages its members to support passage of the Affordable Footwear Act by calling or emailing your senators and requesting they cosponsor the legislation.