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The Tennis Industry Association is opposing proposed tariffs on products that are of specific concern to the tennis and racquet sports industry. TIA President Jeff Williams, on behalf of the TIA and its board of directors, recently sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative and is urging others in the sports industry to voice their opposition to the tariffs.

“These proposed tariffs will place undue financial stress on our manufacturers and the network of tennis retailers across the country,” Williams says. “We're asking the U.S. Trade Representative to remove these products from the list, and we’re working to help inform and unite tennis manufacturers and retailers on action and business steps they can take.”

The specific products of concern are:

►Sports bags (Subheadings 4202.92.31, 4202.92.39, 4202.92.45)

►Hats (Subheading 6505.00.20)

►​Racquet String Synthetic Monofilament (Subheading 5404.19.10)

“As an industry that is already struggling with declining sales and retail store closures, the proposed new tariffs will have a negative, and significant, impact on tennis manufacturers, our retail partners, and in the end, the consumers,” Williams said in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “The added financial burden will be detrimental and have an impact on our tennis economy on many levels. When costs for equipment and sport rise, it has the potential to discourage activity in America.”

The products of interest to the TIA are not the types of products that are the targets of the Chinese acts, policies and practices of concern to the U.S, Williams notes. “The imposition of additional duties on these products therefore would not aid the goal of China eliminating such acts, policies and practices.

“We understand that there is no U.S. production of the products of interest,” Williams says. “Thus, there would be no harm to U.S. interests in removing the products from the USTR list. Even a slight increase in prices will put the economic viability of our industry in jeopardy, and the impacts will be felt across local communities, as well as by individual consumers in the U.S.”

The TIA has gathered information on these tariffs and their impact at the website www.tariffalert.org. The resources at the website also include how to get in touch with government officials and representatives, along with what to tell them. The U.S. Trade Representative is accepting comments online until Sept. 5.

"We are working to help inform and unite tennis manufacturers and retailers on action and business steps on the impending tariffs,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “We’re encouraging manufacturers to view the information on www.tariffalert.org, be informed on this important issue, and use the searchable HTS code database to identify any other products that may be impacted.”

“As a collective group, the proposed new tariffs will have a negative, and significant, impact on tennis manufacturers, our retail partners, and in the end the consumer,” says Kevin Kempin, CEO and president of Head USA. “In our industry, which is already struggling in many ways, this additional burden will be very detrimental. Let’s work together and petition to have these new tariffs rescinded.”

Because of the new taxes, many businesses that use imported Chinese products will find the cost to produce their items will increase. Small- to medium-size businesses may be particularly hard hit, since the tariffs focus on intermediary goods or parts that are used to make finished products. And consumers will be affected, as companies either raise prices and pass on the cost of the new taxes, or cut costs in other areas, such as in workforce.