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Despite Mexico deal, boating remains “in trade war’s crosshairs”

President Trump said Monday that the United States and Mexico have reached a new, 16-year trade deal with Mexico, focused largely on manufacturing.

The White House and Mexican officials were unable to reach an agreement about the steel and aluminum tariffs Trump imposed several months ago, according to The Washington Post.

Speaking from the Oval Office, Trump promoted the preliminary agreement with Mexico as a deal that could replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and threatened to hit Canada with auto tariffs if it did not “negotiate fairly,” according to The New York Times.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association, which called the progress “welcome news, and an important step toward modernizing and preserving the trade pact,” advocated for the administration to continue to negotiate a deal with Canada.

“The agreement with Mexico is a positive step forward but the Administration needs to bring Canada on board to preserve NAFTA,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only Today. “And, there continues to be much work to be done to eliminate tariffs that are causing harm to many American industries.”

Dammrich urged the administration to bring Canada, which is the industry’s largest export market, back into the fold.

“Additionally, President Trump should leverage the goodwill created by this progress and work with both countries to resolve other trade disputes, especially retaliatory tariffs,” said Dammrich in a statement.

Earlier this summer, Canada and Mexico responded to the administration’s Section 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel by applying punitive tariffs on U.S.-made products including boats.

“As a result, sales to both countries – which collectively account for nearly half of U.S. boat exports annually – have all but dried up,” said Dammrich.

While pleased with progress on the agreement between the United States and Mexico, Dammrich said it was “premature to celebrate” the agreement as a major change in trade policy.

“Proud domestic industries like recreational boat manufacturing remain in the trade war’s crosshairs and more work is needed to secure better deals for American workers and businesses,” said Dammrich. “We urge the administration to swiftly and simultaneously finalize the trilateral NAFTA revamp and address other outstanding issues with key trading partners – the 650,000 American jobs supported by our industry are counting on it.”

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