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U.S. outdoor industries see billions in losses from trade disputes

(Xinhua)    17:07, June 24, 2019

DENVER, the United States, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Washington's threat to impose additional tariffs will cost businesses another 1.5 billion U.S. dollars each month, U.S. outdoor industry officials predicted here at a recent town hall meeting.

New data released Thursday by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) showed that until April, outdoor companies and consumers had paid an extra 1.1 billion dollars since the tariffs on List 3 group of products took effect in September 2018, from over 650 million dollars to over 1.7 billion dollars.

On May 10, the United States increased additional tariffs on 2OO billion dollars' worth of Chinese imports, or List 3 group of products, from 10 percent to 25 percent, which will more than double the tariff burden for the outdoor industry in the months to come, the OIA predicted.

In addition to the List 3 tariffs already in place, Washington has also threatened, but not yet imposed, tariffs on 25 percent of essentially all remaining Chinese goods sold to the United States or List 4 products -- valued at roughly 300 billion dollars. That proposal would be a massive expansion of new tariffs for outdoor companies.

According to the OIA, from last September to this April, imports of outdoor products on List 4 totaled 61 billion dollars compared to about 14 billion dollars in imports of products on List 3.

In total, the data found that 25 percent across-the-board tariffs on both List 3 and List 4 could result in 1.5 billion dollars in extra tariffs per month on outdoor products from China in the coming months.

"Tariffs on products vital to America's outdoor recreation economy -- which supports 7.6 million American jobs -- are sapping the strength of one of our nation's most important industries," Patricia Rojas-Ungar, vice president of government affairs for the OIA, said during the meeting at Denver's annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, held from June 16 to June 20.

Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released data showing outdoor groups comprise 2 percent (373.7 billion dollars) of the entire 2016 U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

However, BEA statistics also showed that gross output from the outdoor recreation economy is actually much higher -- totaling 673 billion dollars -- and is more consistent with OIA's 2017 figures that say outdoor recreation is a 887-billion-dollars giant.

"We've known all along that tariffs are taxes on Americans and American companies," Rojas-Ungar said, noting that as early as mid-July, another round of tariffs will hit the industry with 75 billion dollars in U.S. imports from China, and "is only a few weeks from today."

"To date, these tariffs have caused so much unpredictability for outdoor companies that many have had to slow or cancel job-creating investments and have resulted in higher costs for businesses in every corner of the country," Rojas-Ungar said.

"We want the (Trump) administration to conclude a deal with China, lift all exiting tariff's immediately and prevent new ones from coming onto effect," she added.

Rojas-Ungar flew from Washington, DC to Denver last week to attend the meeting.

The OIA and some major companies of the outdoor industry like New Balance Athletics, Camp Chef and NEMO Equipment had testified before the Section 301 Committee under the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), during which they asked the Congress to intervene and stop the severe damage to the U.S. economy created by the U.S.-China trade disputes, according to Rojas-Ungar.

Columbia Sportswear, Burton Corporation and Sports and Fitness Industry Association will testify on Monday and Tuesday.

"Few economists measure the overall size and significance of this industry," said Joseph Marks, who runs a sporting goods store in western Colorado.

"It is not just hurting the industry, but both businesses and the American consumer -- we have to pass the price hikes onto them, although we absorb as much as we can," he added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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