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ABC 2017: Industry maps out top issues to address

WASHINGTON — The American Boating Congress opened Monday evening with a welcome reception at the Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C.
Participants mingle on Monday at the welcome reception for the American Boating Congress.

Participants mingle on Monday at the welcome reception for the American Boating Congress.

WASHINGTON — The American Boating Congress opened Monday evening with a welcome reception at the Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C., as hundreds of advocates gathered to plan their strategic approach for the event.

“We have a very enthusiastic group of representatives here ready to go to Capitol Hill and make a case that recreational boating is a very important industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people in well-paying jobs and it deserves recognition in this country,” National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only Today during the event.

“The unique thing about ABC is that it brings everyone together — marine dealers, manufacturers, marinas, marine trade associations — you don’t get that opportunity at other events,” NMMA vice president of federal and legal affairs Nicole Vasilaros said.

Ethanol reform was one of the top-of-mind issues for Mercury Marine, spokesman Lee Gordon said. Gasoline blended with more than 10 percent ethanol (E10) has been shown to damage marine engines.

Also on his radar was the R&D tax credit — “making sure manufacturers are credited for research and development,” Gordon said.

Martin Peters, of Yamaha Marine Group, also was looking at a slew of issues, including recreational saltwater fishing, in which Yamaha has taken an early and active role.

Yukio Takahashi at Tohatsu Corp. was hoping to discuss tariffs and trade, saying the company can’t afford high export taxes.

Having a networking opportunity outside the chaos of boat shows, when everyone is busy talking to consumers, is key, Vasilaros said.

“This gives everyone a chance to just mingle,” she said.

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