SFIA and IHRSA jointly request end to Fitness Equipment Tariffs

In response to the recent initiation of tariffs on U.S. Fitness Equipment entering the E.U., the SFIA reached out to our E.U. counterparts, the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) and the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), to engage E.U. Trade Commission on the issue and request a reversal of the new tariff policy on fitness equipment. The E.U. Commission has made it clear they will drop their tariffs, if the U.S. does the same. Negotiations are at a stalemate and there is no indication of a change in U.S. policy during the final days of the Trump Administration. In anticipation of a new USTR and more traditional trade relationship with our European partners, SFIA and IHRSA sent a letter to the USTR requesting elimination of the tariffs and use of alternatives to the tariff strategy employed by the current administration. For further information, please contact SFIA’s Senior Vice President of Government & Public Affairs, Bill Sells, at bsells@sfia.org. Please find a copy of the letter below:

December 16, 2020
Mr. Brian Janovitz
Office of the General Counsel
USTR
600 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20508
RE: Strengthening U.S.-EU Trade Relations and Eliminating Tariffs

Dear Mr. Janovitz:

We are writing on behalf of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) to express our support for maintaining strong, reciprocal trade relations between the United States and the European Union (EU). With this primary goal in mind, we would like to express our concerns regarding historical tensions in this important relationship which have resulted in the EU imposing a 25 percent punitive tariff on U.S. exports of stationary exercise equipment classified under HS 9506.91.10.

This tariff has had an inordinately negative effect on U.S. equipment suppliers at a time when health should be of paramount importance as we work together on both sides of the Atlantic to fight the current pandemic. We are well-aware of the underlying trade tensions between the EU and the U.S. in the aviation sector which have led to these punitive tariffs. We also are pleased to recognize that the United Kingdom has recently announced that it would eliminate its punitive tariffs in this dispute effective January 1.

We are hopeful that this positive momentum can help U.S. and EU negotiators reach a similar settlement in this dispute that eliminates the tariffs as soon as possible this year. However, if the dispute cannot be resolved before the incoming Biden Administration takes office later next month, we urge USTR to work aggressively with its EU counter parts to ensure that this bilateral trade dispute can be resolved early in the new year.

Evidence shows that physically active lifestyles can improve immune system health and respiratory tract infections typically suffered by coronavirus patients. Health clubs and fitness equipment providers, through their work to promote physical and mental health, are an integral part of the solution to returning all citizens on both sides of the Atlantic to a state of good health.

Resolving bilateral tensions in the trade relationship between the United States and EU is crucial to achieving this important objective.

We look forward to working with you in any way that we can to achieve a positive outcome in this regrettable trade dispute. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Brent Darden, IHRSA Interim President & CEO
Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO

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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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