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Outdoor Gear Could Cost A Lot More With Proposed Tariffs

By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4)- The thriving outdoor industry in Colorado is not sure what to make of President Donald Trump's announcement that $50 billion in tariffs will be placed on goods imported from China.

"About half the apparel we sell for both Dynafit and Salewa brands are sourced out of China," said Drew Saunders the Director of Operations for Salewa, an outdoor apparel company in Boulder.

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The Outdoor Industry Association said Thursday most products have a tariff of 3 percent, but outdoor gear is already much higher. Hiking boots have a 37.7 percent tariff, ski jackets around 28 percent and backpacks are on par with most gear at 17 percent.

"Our goal would be to have apparel, footwear and travel goods, primarily backpacks excluded from this (tariff)," Saunders said.

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On Thursday, Brianna Malone was searching for a new pair of hiking boots at Wilderness Exchange in Denver.

"I wore them out, I went to Zion (National Park) over Thanksgiving break and poked some holes through them so time for some new ones," She said. "That's why I'm here looking for the best price I can get."

That price could go up soon. The Trump Administration hasn't said what will be increased, but the Outdoor Industry is cautious.

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The OIA said Thursday if some tariffs on hiking boots are increased, a $200 pair of hiking boots could end up costing $360.

Saunders says manufacturing in China is more specialized than in the U.S.

"The type of goods we're talking about today which are technical waterproof goods or technical down garments there's not significant domestic manufacturing in that," he said.

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New tariffs on things like down jackets could mean they're too expensive for people to buy.

"Those prices could go up by $100 to $200 per item per jacket," Saunders said. "In the near term it's going to be a significant tax on the U.S. consumer."

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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