SOURCE: Sports & Fitness Industry Association
SILVER SPRING, MD (Aug. 20, 2018) – Today, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) President and CEO, Tom Cove, testified in strong opposition to proposed tariffs on Chinese-made sports and fitness products in a hearing convened by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington, D.C. Cove, representing over 20 SFIA member companies, identified the far-reaching negative impacts on the sports and fitness industry and the millions of Americans who look to play sports and be active every day.
The tariffs, which could be imposed immediately, would drive up consumer prices and disrupt business models that American companies have built over many years. The list of proposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports includes baseball hats, sports bags, backpacks, fitness equipment generators, facemasks, chinstraps, and baseball, softball, hockey and lacrosse gloves.
“Our members have taken steps to diversify sourcing,” said Cove, “But it can take years to find alternative production options, train the workforce, develop necessary infrastructure and build, or retrofit, a manufacturing facility. There is not sufficient capacity at this moment outside of China to accommodate our industry’s needs. Shifting manufacturing to other countries is simply not feasible in real time or at this scale.”
“We make products that keep people physically active and healthy. It makes no sense to drive up the price of products that otherwise contribute to lowering the national expenditure on health care.”
Cove commended the Administration’s focus on improving intellectual property protections in China, but suggested these tariffs would not accomplish the goal. “We believe China should be held accountable to uphold intellectual property rights, but tariffs on our products may have the unintended and perverse effect of harming business partners of U.S. companies, while incentivizing counterfeiters and other criminal enterprises who do not play by the rules. By definition, counterfeiters avoid legitimate business relationships and do not pay tariffs.” Cove suggested a focus of the U.S. government should be to work multilateral basis, especially at the World Trade Organization.
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.