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Marine industry disappointed new trade deal doesn’t address tariffs on boats

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The United States struck an agreement with Canada and Mexico on a $1.2 trillion trade deal after months of negotiations, but the pact did little to ease concerns about tariffs in the marine industry.

President Trump, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, signed the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA, at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires. The deal still must be approved by Congress.

“I am happy to see the USMCA signed and hope this will be a catalyst toward resolution of all trade issues,” Correct Craft president Bill Yeargin told Trade Only Today. “Unfortunately, even with this agreement, the retaliatory tariffs initiated by Canada and Mexico are still in place and they are hurting businesses on both sides of the borders.”

Yeargin hopes that meetings between Correct Craft, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and the Trump administration will help everyone realize the impact of the current trade war and that “we can move quickly to close the deal on all trade issues.”

“We are still disappointed that the counter tariffs on U.S. boats into Canada are still in place,” NMMA Canada president Sara Anghel said. “I continue to actively work on this important issue for our members. I had a meeting today with a member of Parliament and I will be heading to our nation’s Capital next Wednesday to meet with the Office of the Minister of Small Business to discuss the tariffs.”

The NMMA’s U.S. branch has also been actively lobbying against tariffs, testifying before the International Trade Commission and meeting with trade officials to discuss the rapid cost increases U.S. boat manufacturers have seen — in addition to retaliatory tariffs by Mexico, Canada and the EU.

NMMA president Thom Dammrich and Anghel issued a joint statement after the deal was struck Friday, saying that the USMCA was a “vitally important trilateral trade pact” that would help ensure the health of the marine industry.

“However, this agreement fails to resolve an issue that has significantly hurt the recreational boating industry: U.S. tariffs on virtually all aluminum and steel imports and the resulting retaliatory measures,” wrote Anghel and Dammrich.

When the Trump Administration hit key allies with tariffs, Canada and Mexico responded with punitive tariffs on distinctly American made industries and products, including recreational boats.

“As a result, U.S. boat exports to both countries – which account for more than half of the U.S. industry’s international sales – have all but dried up, jeopardizing thousands of jobs and businesses in all three countries,” they said. “For every day that passes without a solution to this problem, the chances of seeing irreparable harm to our industry grow.”

“While the official signing of USMCA is encouraging, the challenges created by the aluminum and steel tariffs and subsequent retaliation far outweigh our enthusiasm,” said Anghel and Dammrich. “Negotiators should capitalize on the goodwill created by this agreement and immediately remove Section 232 tariffs and retaliatory measures – thousands of businesses and jobs in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. are counting on it.”

It wasn’t just those in the marine industry that expressed dissatisfaction with the deal. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., told Fox Business News that the deal should do more to help American manufacturers.

“What I'm looking for is President Trump to indicate that this is not the end of the line,” Cartwright told “Sunday Morning Futures.” “This is not the deal that he's going to be satisfied with. We want to see President Trump sharpen his pencil and do a better job at helping American manufacturing workers. The current deal doesn't do that.”

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