Representatives from VF Corporation, Columbia Sportswear, Nester Hosiery, and NEMO Equipment met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week, letting them know just how hard the U.S.-China trade war is hitting their bottom-line.
“We want our message to get across that this is effecting American businesses, American jobs, American innovation and it’s just delaying all of that,” said Katie Kumerow, sustainability manager for Nester Hosiery, which manufactures specialty socks.
From September 2018 to July 2019, outdoor recreation businesses have paid $1.8 billion more in tariffs compared to the year ago period, according to new data released Thursday by the Outdoor Industry Association. This tariff increase is nearly triple what outdoor industry companies paid last year, according to the trade group’s latest data.
“Our growth is being hampered right now because we are not able to expand our workforce,” says Brent Merriam, Nemo Equipment Chief Operating Officer, who joined fellow association members on Capitol Hill Thursday.
NEMO Equipment, a 30-person New Hampshire-based manufacturer of sleeping bags and tents, has paid $175,000 in tariffs so far. While that might not seem like much, Merriam says it means a lot to his business, and has resulted in putting three jobs on hold.