A decision by President Obama to exempt sleeping bags made in Bangladesh from a no-tariff agreement will save almost 100 jobs in northwest Alabama.
Workers at the Exxel Outdoors manufacturing got a late but very welcome Christmas gift last week when President Obama determined that certain imported non-down sleeping bags will be removed from eligibility for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences program because the products are import-sensitive.
The applied duty rate went into effect Jan. 1.
What that means is 84 employees at the Exxel plant in Haleyville now have job security.
The Haleyville facility makes sleeping bags sold by a wide range of retailers, including Target, Toys “R” Us, Amazon, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cabela’s and Academy Sports. The company also has licensing agreements with Disney and Hello Kitty.
Exxel owner Harry Kazazian had petitioned the Obama administration to remove sleeping bags made in Bangladesh from the list of preferred importers. He hailed the decision as a critical step in restoring jobs lost offshore.
“The situation was forcing our Alabama sleeping bag factory to the brink of having to move offshore,” he said.