Trade War With China Hits Hikers, Bikers And Trail Runners

Sep 19, 2018
Originally published on September 20, 2018 8:29 am

The ongoing trade war with China is feeling close to home these days. Mounting tariffs on outdoor recreation gear may hit the wallets of folks in the Mountain West who love going outside.

On Monday, the Trump administration announced $200 billion dollars worth of new tariffs on products from China.

“This is going to include backpacks, sport bags, leather ski gloves, bikes and some camping equipment,” Rich Harper, a trade analyst with the lobbying group Outdoor Industry Association, said.

By the end of the year Harper said it will cost up to 25 percent more for companies like REI and Patagonia to buy their goods from Chinese factories.

“Initially, the companies may be forced to absorb the cost themselves,” he said. “But if these tariffs remain in place it’s almost inevitable they’ll be passed onto the consumer.”

Harper said the tariffs could even hit companies who make their products in U.S. factories.

“Wool yarn is on the latest list of products that’ll be subject to additional tariffs,” he said. “So if you manufacture wool socks domestically, your costs are going to go up.”

The average hiker, biker or runner spends between $179 and $340 per year on equipment.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2018 Yellowstone Public Radio. To see more, visit Yellowstone Public Radio.