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SFIA Sees Improved Prospects for Trade Agenda in 2015

Date: 1/28/15

SILVER SPRING, MD – January 28, 2015 – With the White House and Republican congressional leaders identifying trade as one of few areas where the two sides can work together in 2015, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is encouraged by the anticipation of positive movement on trade issues. The new heads of the congressional trade committees, House Ways & Means Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), have indicated that trade issues are at the top of their committees’ agendas as they begin work this month. 

“With the new Republican controlled Congress setting the agenda and President Obama making a push for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in his State of the Union address, there is reason for optimism on movement of trade issues in 2015,” said Bill Sells, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for SFIA. “The President needs Trade Promotion Authority to send the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement to Congress. TPP would be a big win for many sports and fitness manufacturers and TPA offers Congress an opportunity to use it as a vehicle for other trade issues that have languished in recent years.”

The SFIA views four key trade issues critical to the sports and fitness industry in 2015:

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)
Trade promotion authority (TPA) will be the chief area of focus for Congress early in the 114th Congress. Also known as fast-track negotiating authority, TPA ensures that Congress votes on trade agreements submitted by the President within a certain timeframe and that the agreements are kept free of amendments. SFIA has strongly supported passage of TPA legislation, most recently in a business coalition letter sent to congressional leaders on January 14, 2015. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)/Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
SFIA members have major duty savings at stake in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations (TPP), which could lead to the elimination of duties on all sports and fitness equipment, apparel and footwear traded among the 12 participating Pacific-Rim countries. 

Negotiations on the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations are proceeding at a slower pace. SFIA has worked closely with U.S. negotiators in both the TPP and the TTIP talks, including through the submission of written comments to the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee.

Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB)
The most recent version of the miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB), H.R. 2708 from the 113th Congress, contains 11 SFIA-backed duty suspension provisions covering several categories of golf equipment, basketballs and volleyballs. On January 27, SFIA and other business groups sent a letter to Ways & Means Committee chairman Ryan and Finance Committee chairman Hatch urging them to take action on the MTB early in the new Congress. 

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Renewal
Congress is expected to move quickly to pass legislation to renew the GSP program. With the exception of athletic footwear and apparel, nearly all dutiable categories of sporting goods equipment are eligible for duty-free GSP treatment when imported from any of the nearly 140 developing countries that are beneficiaries under the program. 

Click Here
for more details on the above mentioned issues. For additional information on trade issues please contact Bill Sells at SFIA bsells@sfia.org.
 

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