Brazil, unlike its peers in the developing world, has a culture of yachting and leisure boating, making it easier for producers of luxury vessels to navigate the market.
But will an increase in taxes on imported boats hurt the industry?
Giovanni Luigi, chief executive of Grupo YachtBrasil, said his company has become the No. 1 sales agent in the world for Italy’s Azimut Yachts. With turnover growing at 28 percent a year, the company hopes by the end of 2011 to have clocked $1 billion in sales in four years, the Financial Times reported.
However, Luigi said, the government is raising taxes on imported boats, a move that will increase already-high rates of about 75 percent, including state and municipal levies.
“They are trying to protect local shipyards and the local market,” Luigi said. “We think that is a big mistake.”
Eduardo Colunna, president of the Brazilian Boat Building Association, said the homegrown boating industry is hurting from Brazil’s strong exchange rate versus the U.S. dollar and the euro, which was benefiting imports. But he said the increases in import duties do not apply only to boats and are aimed at protecting domestic industries across the board.
“Our national product is perfectly capable of competing with imported boats. We want healthy competition,” Colunna told the newspaper.
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