SFIA Deems Expansion of Duty-Free Status on Backpacks and Sports Bags a Positive First Step
USTR approves limited tariff relief, additional relief under review
Washington, D.C., June 30, 2016 – On the eve of the July 1 deadline, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) granted duty-free status to sports bags and backpacks produced in least developed and AGOA countries; these countries are eligible for benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. A decision on expansion to all GSP countries is pending (See chart on Page 33: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33663.pdf).
The GSP encourages investment in developing countries as a way of assisting those countries in transitioning to a manufacturing-based economy. The new duty structure will go into effect on July 1, 2016.
Backpacks and sports bags imported from GSP-eligible countries would avoid tariffs of up to 17.6 percent. In August 2015 the USTR announced that GSP-eligible products would be expanded to include travel goods for the first time. The granting of duty-free status to GSP-eligible products advances this year-long process.
The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) seized the opportunity to organize petitions for their member companies who produce backpacks and sports bags. Petitions were filed in October and accepted for consideration in January. SFIA members testified before the ITC and USTR in March in support of GSP expansion. Today’s USTR announcement is a good start, but SFIA will continue to work with the government to expand tariff relief to all GSP countries.
“This is a positive step in the process in lowering costs for our members in the backpack and sports bag industry, but we remain focused on expansion to all GSP countries,” said Bill Sells, SFIA, Vice President Government Relations and Public Affairs. “We look forward to working with the USTR on GSP expansion and with the ITC for additional tariff relief via the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB).”
To read more about the SFIA and our efforts in surrounding the GSP click here.
ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness
research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.