Exemptions may be available for 10 percent aluminum tariff

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Companies may apply for an exemption from the 10 percent aluminum tax on certain types of aluminum not produced in the United States in a sufficient amount, satisfactory quality, or if relief is based on specific national security considerations.

This exemption process only applies to the 10 percent aluminum tariff announced earlier this month. Exemptions will be approved on a company and product specific basis, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

As part of President Trump’s announcement to impose tariffs on imported aluminum and steel, the Administration provided for an exemption process of certain types of aluminum “not to be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality and is also authorized to provide such relief based on specific national security considerations,” the NMMA said.

Companies can apply for specific exclusion types if they use aluminum in their business practice and have proved sufficient need to meet the above criteria. More detail from the official announcement can be found here.

Marine manufacturers interested in applying for an exclusion for certain types of aluminum, for example extra-wide sheets of 72-plus inches, can find more information on the application process by clicking here.

Earlier this month, President Trump exercised his authority under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose a 10 percent worldwide tariff on aluminum.

The NMMA condemned the tariffs, saying they would have a big downstream effect on many industries including recreational boating. The European Union came out soon after his announcement saying it would impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports including recreational boats.

The American Keg Company, which sources its stainless steel in the United States, was forced to lay off a third of its workforce due to pending steel tariffs, according to an editorial in The Wall Street Journal.

“Since it began manufacturing kegs in 2015, the Pottstown, Pennsylvania-based American Keg has operated on a narrow margin,” the newspaper wrote on Saturday.

“The 15.5-gallon keg is a staple in bars and fraternities, and the American-made version currently retails for $115 while a German or Chinese keg costs about $95. American Keg has survived by selling to craft breweries that want to support U.S. workers and American steel, even at a small premium,” the editorial board wrote.

“But there’s a limit to what people would pay to have an American product,” said CEO Paul Czachor, according to the newspaper.

“Mr. Trump has imposed the tariffs in the name of national security. But in practice they punish American steel users by giving the American metal industry the opportunity to raise prices while still undercutting foreign steel and aluminum,” the newspaper said.

“The Trump tariffs are supposed to protect the 140,000 workers employed by steel makers. But even if they do that for a while, until companies like American Keg suffer and stop buying steel, the tariffs punish the 6.5 million workers in steel-dependent industries,” the newspaper said, adding that those will largely be blue-collar workers such as 55-year-old Mark Foster, who was one of those fired by the American Keg Company.

The NMMA is continuing to work with the Trump Administration and Congress on the potential side effects of aluminum tariffs on marine users.

In addition to the 10 percent tariff, the Department of Commerce is expected to announce tariffs on Chinese aluminum sheet in the coming month. The exclusion process will not apply to any additional tariff announcements.

“There remains much uncertainty as to who will qualify for the exemption process, but NMMA will continue to update you as the issue develops,” the NMMA said.


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