NMMA ‘discouraged’ about demise of Trans-Pacific trade deal

The group representing the U.S. marine industry is speaking out against President Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
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The group representing the U.S. marine industry is speaking out against President Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, which some speculate demonstrates the new president’s intention to follow through with his tough stance on trade.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said Trump’s withdrawal from the deal will directly harm the industry, particularly American boat manufacturers.

“NMMA is discouraged to see one of President Trump’s first actions be to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” NMMA government relations vice president Nicole Vasilaros said in an email to Trade Only.

The NMMA was very supportive of the TPP, calling it “an important agreement that strengthens global trade, pinpointing the Asia Pacific region.”

“Without the TPP, the recreational boating industry and specifically, U.S. boat manufacturers, are at a disadvantage — limiting growth in the international marketplace,” Vasilaros said.

The recreational boating industry benefited from the TPP, which “provided regulatory transparency and measures to ensure cooperation among regulatory bodies, reducing burdensome and duplicative rules,” Vasilaros said.

“Specific benefits for boating included: lower tariffs, mechanisms for standards harmonization and development of best practices for countries without a regulatory regime, customs transparency and opportunity for adjudication, and reduced technical barriers to trade,” she said.

Other nations involved in the TPP were seeking to move forward without the United States today. Some, such as USA Today, speculated that Trump’s withdrawal would weaken the U.S. position in Asia, particularly China.

In light of such new developments, as well as Brexit, the NMMA is hosting a trade symposium prior to the Miami International Boat Show

“We thought it was a good idea to pull together this dialogue to ask what is the future of trade, because we don’t know,” NMMA export director Julie Balzano told Trade Only.

Several experts, including many outside the boating industry, will speak, including Tony Villamil, founder and principal of The Washington Economics Group; Jay Reynolds, president of JP Reynolds Co. Inc.; and Jim Anzalone, president of Compliance Assurance LLC.

Vasilaros and Correct Craft president Bill Yeargin also will address the group.

The symposium will consist of two discussions. The first is a refresher course to help companies ensure they are compliant as exporters.

“The next one is what’s next for trade overall,” Balzano said. “The geopolitical ramifications, and the whole ramifications of trade agreements — and what happens if they’re scaled back.”

For example, revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement could have potential ramifications for the industry, given that Canada is the No. 1 country that imports U.S.-built boats and Mexico is another top export market.

In addition, certain border taxes that have been discussed “can cause retaliation and make it more expensive for us to export our products,” Balzano said.

“At the NMMA we want to make sure our members stay focused on international trade, stay focused on having a healthy balance of domestic and international sales, and want to make sure they stay informed on all the new changes that may be coming under this new administration,” Balzano said.

Space was almost full, so Balzano stressed that interested parties should register soon.

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