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House Committee Includes SGMA-Backed Provisions in Miscellaneous Tariff Bill

Date: 7/9/10

Bill would provide tariff relief for Basketballs, Volleyballs, & Golf Bag Bodies

SILVER SPRING, MD - July 9, 2010 -- On July 7, the House Ways & Means chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) posted a draft 144-page Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) on the committee's website that includes SGMA-supported duty suspension provisions on several sporting goods products. The posting is the first step in an effort to renew tariff relief that expired on January 1, 2010.

"This is a positive step forward as SGMA's works to reduce tariffs for our members whose products were adversely impacted by the expiration of duty relief at the start of the year." said Bill Sells, SGMA's Vice President of government relations.  "If passed, this bill has the potential to save the sporting goods industry and consumers millions of dollars."
The posted document is a manager's amendment that incorporates revisions to the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Bill of 2009 (H.R. 4380).  Unlike earlier bill MTB's, the new version includes Senate bills to extend expired duty suspension provisions.  Of particular importance to SGMA members are duty relief extensions on the following products:

  • volleyballs 
  • leather basketballs
  • golf bag bodies 
  • rubber basketballs and
  • basketballs of other materials

The golf bag body provision in this MTB includes important modifications to the product description contained in the previous  MTB bill to ensure intended products are appropriately covered.  The duty on golf bags will be reduced to 1.5 percent, not eliminated as it was from 2007-2009 to meet congressional budgetary requirements.  The new reduced rates of duties for basketballs made of rubber and basketballs made from other materials will be lowered to 0.7 percent (from 1.5 percent) and  adjusted to 1.1 percent (from 0.9 percent).  The volleyball and leather basketball provisions would both continue to be Free.  If passed, these new duties would go into effect 15 days after enactment of the legislation and would remain in effect through December 31, 2012.

Significantly, the draft manager's amendment would make the extension of these expired duty suspension provisions retroactive to January 1, 2010, the date on which they expired.  Requests for retroactive treatment must be filed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within 180 days of the bill's enactment and they must include sufficient information enabling CBP to locate the entry or to reconstruct the entry if it cannot be located.  CBP is required to pay duty refunds on qualified products within 90 days of the date of liquidation or reliquidation.

The Ways & Means leadership is hoping that, like other recent MTBs passed by Congress, the bills will by-pass the committee process and proceed straight to the House floor under 'suspension of the rules.' The Senate, would then seek approval via "unanimous consent' to avoid Finance Committee action.  The goal is to pass the MTB before the 110th Congress adjourns later this year.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by fostering participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion, and public policy.  More information about SGMA membership and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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