The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) in the US updated its members Wednesday of additional tariffs on Chinese imports and urged them to seek exclusions, provide written comment or to testify before the US Trade Representative (USTR) in August.
On 6 July, a 25% tariff was place on some US$34bn in Chinese imports to the US that include sheet aluminium, steel and a host of other goods used in boatbuilding, including components and accessories.
The NMMA’s efforts to have marine components excluded were unsuccessful and the trade group is offering members assistance on seeking exclusions. It is unclear, according to NMMA Senior VP of Government Relations Nicole Vasilaros, whether an exclusion will be granted to an individual company or provide a blanket exclusion industry-wide.
Vasilaros detailed a second and third round of tariffs being proposed that are currently in the public comment phase of the approval process. The second list of proposed items total some US$13bn in good that would be slapped with a 25% import fee that would include goods like floating docks and electric motors.
A third, more inclusive list would levy a 10% fee on about US$200bn in imports that include boats – from canoes to yachts – as well as fibreglass, trailer tires and additional parts and components. Vasilaros reports that there are no overlapping products on the list.
While some members believe a tariff on imported boats would help level the playing field, Vasilaros warns of escalating retaliation. “No one denies there are issues with intellectual property and other trade violations [from China], but we don’t believe tariffs are the answer. We don’t want boats on any of the lists,” she said.
NMMA is offering members assistance not only in filing exclusions from the tariffs, but in submitting written comments and oral testimony before the USTR at a series of hearing schedule for late August.
The deadline for getting on the list to testify is this Friday, while the deadline for submitting written comments is 17 August.
The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker took steps to avoid the expansion of a trade war at a meeting in Washington on Wednesday, agreeing to avoid the imposition of further tariffs as they address trade issues between the US and the EU.
Trump and Juncker agreed to begin talks on eliminating tariffs on transatlantic trade, and to work towards removing the steel and aluminium tariffs the Trump Administration introduced this year, as well as the tariffs the EU imposed in response.