Industry leaders meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross yesterday met with recreational boating and fishing industry leaders at the Bass Pro Shops in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Ross spoke about administrative policies and listened discussions about the contributions of marine recreation to the “Blue” economy. The group included boat builders, fiberglass, resin and component manufacturers, and fishing equipment suppliers.

"Today, I met with industry leaders to discuss the positive impact the President’s tax cuts and Jobs Act has had on this industry," said Ross in a statement. "By lowering the corporate tax rate and making it competitive globally for the first time since the 1980s, the Tax Reform Bill has strengthened the economy.”

The discussions also focused on regulatory headwinds that the boating industry is facing.

Recreational boating generates $170.3 billion in annual economic impact and supports more than 35,000 businesses and 691,000 U.S. jobs. About 95 percent of boats sold in the U.S. are built in the U.S.

Ross said that the Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis found that the entire outdoor rec industry accounted for 2.2 percent of GDP in 2016. “To put that number into perspective, the sector is bigger than such behemoths as mining, agriculture, and utilities,” he said. “The Trump administration recognizes the industry’s importance to our nation’s economic wellbeing and we will continue to look for ways to foster growth in the sector.”

"As we tackle issues such as enforcement of the Modern Fish Act and fair representation for anglers at the regional council level, we are grateful for this administration’s support of public access to our marine resources and their commitment to grow the outdoor recreation economy,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy in the statement.

"Building on the recreational boating industry’s success requires support for infrastructure, conservation, and economic policies that help our industry thrive and continue to bolster our country's economy," added Nicole Vasilaros, senior vice president of government relations for the National Marine Manufacturers Association in the statement. "We look forward to working together moving forward. As the trade and infrastructure debates heat up, the administration and Congress should support free- and fair-trade agreements and a Recreation Title that addresses blue and green infrastructure in any comprehensive package."

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