The US Department of Commerce (DoC) yesterday announced the amounts of countervailing duties that will be levied on companies from China. In response, the NMMA issued a terse statement saying the tariffs are a “threat to the vitality” of the US boating industry.

The trade association says that uncertainty over rising aluminium prices has forced many aluminium boatbuilders to delay investments in infrastructure and cut worker bonuses. Three duties will soon impact imports of aluminium sheet from China following the DoC’s investigation last November into unfair trade practices by China.

Countervailing duties are intended to counteract “unlawful” Chinese government subsidisation that lowers the price of aluminium imports. The second “anti-dumping” tariff, levied by the International Trade Commission, is expected to be announced in several days. The third 10% tariff on aluminium sheet from China was announced last month by US President Trump. Altogether, NMMA says this could raise prices on aluminium sheet by 60% or more.

The percentages of countervailing tariffs on specific companies include:

  • Yongjie New Material Co Ltd: 31.2%
  • Henan Mingtai Al Industrial Co Ltd (Henan Mingtai) and its affiliate Zhengzhou Mingtai Industry Co Ltd: 34.9%
  • Chalco Ruimin and Chalco SWA Cold-Rolling (determined by the DoC to be “non-cooperative”): 113.3%
  • All Other Companies: 33.1%

NMMA president Thom Dammrich said that US boatbuilders rely primarily on US-built aluminium sheet, but these companies also depend on a “competitive global market and fair pricing” for the materials.

“The countervailing duty is expected to force domestic prices to skyrocket and further exacerbate supply shortages for marine manufacturers,” said Dammrich, adding that the tariffs have “sowed confusion and caused disruptions in supply and price.”

He said that a number of US aluminium builders have opted to delay investments in infrastructure and cut bonuses to workers. “While presumably well-intentioned, the ruling fails to acknowledge the thriving American manufacturing sector, particularly of marine products,” said Dammrich. “The recreational boating industry has spent the past 10 years rebounding from the Great Recession. What’s more, 95% of boats sold in the US are made in the US, meaning these record sales benefit American businesses and workers alike.”

Dammrich said the continued growth of the industry is now in question. “The economic instability caused by these tariffs threatens our uniquely American sector and the 650,000 American workers it supports,” said Dammrich. “Tariffs aren’t the solution. Instead, we urge the Administration to deal with these issues through a negotiated trade agreement with China.”