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OIA calls on Congress to pass Affordable Footwear Act
Nov '08
OIA legislation would provide immediate economic relief on cost of basic necessity. In testimony submitted to the House Committee on Ways and Means, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) urged Congress to consider the current and future economic challenges faced by the outdoor industry and encouraged enactment of a comprehensive package that reduces business costs, helps stabilize retail prices and includes the Affordable Footwear Act (H.R. 3934/S. 2372).

The Committee hearing was held today to discuss economic recovery and consider what to include in a potential economic stimulus package that may be considered in a post-election session of Congress.

OIA has joined a coalition of retailers, manufacturers and other associations in calling on Congress to pass the Affordable Footwear Act as part of any stimulus package or other appropriate legislation that is to be considered.

The Affordable Footwear Act, or AFA, eliminates outdated tariffs on most kinds of footwear. These duties, instituted in 1930 under the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, no longer serve the intended purpose of protecting a U.S. footwear industry and are now nothing more than an excessively high and unnecessary tax on shoes, some as high as 67 percent.

With the support of the few remaining domestic footwear manufacturers, the AFA has attracted a bipartisan group of 157 sponsors in the House of Representatives (including 21 from the Ways and Means Committee) and 14 U.S. Senators (six of whom serve on the Senate Finance Committee).

Also, in a letter sent to Congressional leadership on October 23, leaders in the footwear industry, including several from the outdoor industry, urged Congress to pass the AFA to “eliminate duties that no longer serve any purpose except to raise the cost of shoes to hard working consumers,” while noting that the AFA would “offer timely relief to consumers on the cost of a basic necessity.”

“The current, arcane tariff structure puts products like hiking shoes out of reach of many consumers. Americans at all economic levels should be able to enjoy the great outdoors and have access to affordable products,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of OIA.

Outdoor Industry Association

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