Boat exports to Brazil show signs of strength


U.S. boat exports to Brazil have increased 41 percent between 2011 and 2012 despite that country's high tariffs on foreign boats.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has identified Brazil as one of the leading emerging markets for boatbuilders.

Builders had their eye on Brazil for years until Mercosur, a South American trading bloc consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, levied 35 percent taxes on boats imported from other countries in an effort to make its own builders competitive.

But John Vanderwolf, an economic specialist with the Commerce Department, says builders should revisit the area when they seek to grow export markets.

“The increase of 41 percent proves that Brazil is still a strong market to get into,” Vanderwolf told builders during a webinar Tuesday.

The webinar was a joint effort by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Commerce Department as part of their new initiative to focus on growing U.S. boat exports.

The formalized program, called the New Market Export Initiative, allows NMMA members improved access to international trade resources that the U.S. government offers. It was developed to assist manufacturers as they expand export sales of their goods.

The program was announced in April during the American Boating Congress general session by NMMA president Thom Dammrich and U.S. undersecretary for international trade Francisco Sánchez.

Since 2007 there has been a positive balance in U.S. trade of recreational boats and marine engines, with the balance totaling $573 million in 2010, Currie said. As Americans focus on the U.S. trade deficit, the government has recognized the boating industry’s potential to grow further, he said.

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Read about the NMEI and exports in the July issue of Soundings Trade Only.