EU Tariffs on Exercise Equipment

E.U. targets U.S. fitness equipment, bowling and table games for retaliatory tariffs but signals willingness to find alternative solution

In the latest response to the U.S. placing tariffs on billions of European Union (EU) imports as a penalty for subsidies to Airbus, the E.U. announced 25 percent tariffs on $4 billion in U.S. imports earlier this month after the WTO ruled the U.S. subsidized Boeing. While food and alcohol were the primary targets of the tariffs, fitness equipment was also included on the E.U. tariff list. With the onset of the Coronavirus, U.S. exports to the EU declined from January to May. There has been a small uptick in U.S. exports to E.U. since May, but the trade imbalance between the two trading partners has been growing in the E.U.’s favor since implementation of tariffs.

Specifically, products imported under HTS 9504, parlor games (billiards, cards, coin operated video games and bowling) and fitness equipment imported under HTS code 9506.91 are subject to the new tariffs. Good news is the E.U. has already signaled they would like to work with incoming administration to resolve situation without tariffs. In announcing the tariffs the E.U. trade commissioner indicated this was not their preferred course of action. “Due to lack of progress with the U.S., we had no other choice but to impose these countermeasures,” said EU Trade Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis. He continued, “Removing these tariffs is a win-win for both sides, especially with the pandemic wreaking havoc on our economies. We now have an opportunity to reboot our transatlantic cooperation and work together towards our shared goals,” Jörgen Warborn, a member of the E.U. parliament echoed this sentiment, “Increasing tariffs will increase prices for consumers. We should build a new relationship with the new US president based on fewer tariffs.”

The European Commission comments on its willingness to work with the U.S. to settle this dispute and agree on long-term disciplines to aircraft subsidies are a good sign this dispute will not grow nor last long. However, the Commission also said the U.S. “has not yet provided the basis for a negotiated settlement, which would include an immediate removal of U.S. tariffs on EU exports in the Airbus WTO case.” Those tariffs include 15 percent on large civil aircraft from the EU and 25 percent on about 150 goods from EU member countries valued at $7.5 billion annually.

Here is link to formal E.U. announcement on the tariffs which lists all impacted products: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32020R1646%26from=EN

SFIA continues to express its opposition to the current tariff strategy on trade matters and will encourage the incoming administration to remove tariffs and not make them a centerpiece of future trade policy with our partners.

For more information please contact Bill Sells at bsells@sfia.org or by phone at 202–262–6444.

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SFIA is the leading global trade association in the sports & fitness industry. SFIA is the #1 source for sport & fitness research. More info at www.sfia.org.

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