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SGMA Says: April 30 Deadline for Tariff Relief Bills on Sporting Goods

Date: 4/3/12

Past MTB Legislation Has Affected Basketballs, Volleyballs and Golf Bags

SILVER SPRING, MD – April 3, 2012 –
The U.S. Congress has now formally launched the process for preparing a miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB) that will consist of hundreds of tariff provisions on individual products.  This presents a major opportunity for SGMA members to potentially lower import their duties on their eligible products. 

However, the March 30th notices by the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees provide a very tight deadline.  To be considered in the upcoming MTB, Members of Congress must introduce their duty suspension bills by April 30.  Since bills must first be reviewed in draft form by congressional legislative counsel, SGMA member companies are encouraged to move quickly.  SGMA member companies should contact SGMA Vice President for Government Relations Bill Sells (bsells@sgma.com; 301.495.6321) with any questions about the MTB process.

As reported, MTBs serve as the vehicle for provisions to temporarily suspend or reduce the rates of duty on articles that are not produced in the United States or that are otherwise non-controversial.  The last Congress passed an MTB that included duty suspension provisions for golf bags, basketballs and volleyballs, all of which are set to expire at the end of this year -- December 31.  A second MTB consisting of an additional 300 duty relief provisions -- including for golf club driver heads, golf umbrellas and ski poles -- was dropped at the 11th hour from a trade bill passed later during the last Congress.

“There are tariffs that no longer serve their intended purpose of leveling the playing field for domestic manufacturers,” said Sells.  “Despite the challenges posed by the Congressional ban on earmarks, SGMA will pursue tariff relief for our members' products when appropriate.”

Additional information regarding  the duty suspension bill process and requirements are available on the tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee websites. The committees will soon be posting additional details on the information that Members of Congress will need to provide in a Bill Description Form and in preliminary and final versions of a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Disclosure Form.

To be included in the MTB, a tariff modification must:  (1) be non-controversial; (2) cost under $500,000 per year; and (3) be administrable.  To determine whether these criteria have been met, each bill goes through a vetting process by the congressional committees, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Commerce Department, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and it is scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

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 promoting favorable public policies, fostering participation through research, thought leadership and product promotion.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA public policy platform, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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