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Tariffs on Fishing Gear?

American Sportfishing Association Logo

On May 13, 2019, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released a proposed list of imported Chinese products on which to impose Section 301 tariffs of up to 25 percent. The President announced in a tweet on August 4th that his administration will impose 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports starting on September 1, after backing off from the threat in early July.

Recreational fishing equipment is already subject to a unique 10% excise tax. Adding additional tariffs of up to 25 % would be difficult for the industry to withstand. Sixty percent of fishing equipment in the U.S. is imported. Two-thirds of these imports come from China (see below). Therefore, the impacts of these proposed tariffs will be felt by nearly every recreational fisherman looking to make new fishing equipment purchases.

The sportfishing industry has already been impacted by earlier additional tariffs on Chinese
products, including on trolling motors, fishing pliers and marine electronics components.
Altogether, the existing and recently-proposed additional tariffs pose a serious threat to the
$125 billion American recreational fishing economy.

While the recreational fishing industry shares the same concerns as other industries impacted by these tariffs – namely higher costs that will be passed onto the U.S. consumer – the sportfishing industry would be uniquely burdened by these proposed tariffs given the
existing excise tax paid by the industry. Unlike most other industries, the recreational
fishing industry is already subject to a 10 percent excise tax for most fishing equipment, which is collected at the first point of sale in the U.S. For an industry with relatively low margins to begin with, this tax is significant for the companies who pay it. However, they do so willingly because of a broad recognition that the taxes are put to good use.

You can contact your Congressional Delegation on Chinese tariffs with pre-written letters at

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