Boat dealers in Canada and boatbuilders in the US took a hit to the wallet today following an announcement by the Canadian government indicating that boats will remain among a range of goods subject to retaliatory tariffs that go into effect on July 1.
Foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland unveiled the final tariff list at a steel mill in Ontario Friday morning, flanked by innovation minister Navdeep Bains and employment, workforce development and labour minister Patty Hajdu.
Freeland said the final list of goods subject to new duties in retaliation to steel and aluminium tariffs imposed earlier this year by the US reflects extensive consultations with a number of stakeholder groups in a variety of industries, aimed at minimising damage to Canadian businesses while still sending a strong signal to the Trump Administration that its own tariffs remain unacceptable.
In spite of acknowledging that her government has “heard from people in the boating sector and that is feedback that we are taking very seriously”, inflatable boats, sailboats and motorboats remain on the final list of goods to be subject to a 10% tariff effective July 1.
Imports of pleasure boats into Canada from the US in 2017 are said to have totalled $646m.
An intensive lobbying effort led by the National Marine Manufacturers Association of Canada (NMMA Canada) and regional marine trade associations questioned why boats were being singled out as the only recreational products to be considered for tariffs.
In a June 13 letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NMMA Canada president Sara Anghel pointed out that the government’s proposed countermeasures would cripple Canada’s $10bn boating industry.
“While we appreciate the government recognising our concerns, we are disappointed that boats will remain to be the only recreational products subject to tariffs,” said Anghel. “This decision will have serious implications for our industry, representing more than 75,000 jobs. NMMA will continue to advocate on behalf of the industry and work with the government of Canada on minimising the impact of these measures."
On June 22 the European Commission (EU) implemented its own retaliatory tariffs, including a new 25% duty on recreational boats (except inflatables) made in the US following Mexico, which announced a 15% tariff on US-made boats the previous week.