Coronavirus: AFFTA welcomes passing of CARES Act
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The body that represents the fly fishing industry in the US has welcomed legislation aimed at protecting Americans and the country’s economy through the COVID-19 crisis.
The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) says it is ‘excited’ to support the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act which has funds allocated within it for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) through the Small Business Administration (SBA), a case-by-case temporary suspension of tariff payments, payroll tax relief and a fund specifically dedicated to the fishing industry.
“The fly fishing industry is such a close community it’s brutal not to be able to offer immediate help to your neighbours and friends,” said Ben Bulis, AFFTA President. “When we sent a letter to Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House and Senate Leadership and the White House, asking for relief specifically for our industry, we hoped our request wouldn’t get lost in the noise.
“While we in no way can claim that our letter had a direct effect, we were heard loud and clear. There’s no doubt about that.”
AFFTA offered three recommendations that would offer direct relief to the fly fishing industry:
• Eliminate Sec.301 tariffs applied to fly fishing products/product codes;
• Elimination of payroll taxes paid by employers up to July 3rd;
• Streamlining and speeding up a loan programme to provide zero interest loans or grants for small-to-medium-sized businesses with less than 250 employees.
In addition to the temporary case-by-case suspension of tariff payments, payroll tax relief measures and ensuring the viability of the SBA Loans for small businesses, an additional $300m has been included ‘to provide direct financial assistance to all manner of fishers, fishery participants and communities that have been affected by coronavirus’.
“Right now, all of the details about the application and distribution have not been made available,” added Bulis. “But our finger is on the pulse of this and we will share everything as soon as we hear. Keep your heads up – we will make it through this.”