Skip to main content

NMMA says tariffs could compromise boating safety

NMMA’s Nicole Vasilaros was interviewed by Fox Business during a U.S. Trade Representative hearing on proposed tariffs targeting an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports.

NMMA’s Nicole Vasilaros was interviewed by Fox Business during a U.S. Trade Representative hearing on proposed tariffs targeting an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association testified before the U.S. Trade Representative this morning, saying that the fourth proposed list of tariffs on Chinese goods would target lifesaving equipment, critical infrastructure materials, water-sports equipment and fishing gear.

“While NMMA appreciates the administration’s actions to target unfair trade practices and increase American competitiveness, we believe the sweeping imposition of high and compounding tariffs will have a detrimental impact on U.S. marine manufacturers and consumer products,” said NMMA senior vice president of government and legal affairs Nicole Vasilaros during her testimony today, according to her prepared remarks.

Taxing U.S. businesses that import products has done little to change Chinese practices, and Vasilaros said unfair practices are better addressed by bilateral trade agreements. “In particular, several products included on this proposed list are essential to maritime safety, and we implore the committee to remove those items,” Vasilaros said.

The Coast Guard estimates that 75 percent of accidents in 2017 involved drowning. Overall, life jacket wear rates remain low, and the industry encourages continued regulatory updates to improve overall design and wearability, Vasilaros said.

“A tax such as the one proposed here will only make it more expensive for consumers to purchase critical safety equipment,” she said. “Life jackets cost anywhere from $10 to $160, and a 25 percent tax on a family of four would result in a significantly greater financial burden. … Consumers may opt for cheaper options that are less wearable due to the tax, an unintended consequence I am sure the committee would seek to avoid.”

The proposed list also targets an array of fishing equipment, Vasilaros said, adding that 70 percent of boat trips involve fishing.

The NMMA is being joined on Capitol Hill by representatives from the outdoor recreation industry and members of the Tariffs Hurt The Heartland campaign, according to the NMMA.

Click here for a list of products the NMMA wants excluded from tariff determination.



Indmar Co-Founder Dies at 95

A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Dick Rowe dedicated himself to the recreational boating industry for more than four decades.


Patrick Completes Transhield Acquisition

Patrick will provide support to the protective covering manufacturer and allow it operate independently in its current facilities.


Don’t Give Winter Shows a Pass

Local boat shows are one of the most effective ways to expose your dealership to new prospects and fill your sales funnel during the off-season.


DEALERS: Are You in Compliance?

A new FTC Safeguards Rule designed to protect consumers’ personal information goes into effect Dec. 9 — are you prepared?


Blaze Destroys Mystic Marine Facility

A four-alarm fire last night consumed at least two buildings and an undetermined number of boats at Seaport Marine in Mystic, Conn.


Gulf Craft Broadens Lineup

The Middle Eastern builder debuted its Majesty 72 and Silvercraft WA models at the Abu Dhabi Boat Show last week.


Vision Marine Announces Battery Partnership

The production contract includes an initial purchase of 240 batteries from French manufacturer Negoy that will be used in 120 of Vision’s complete propulsion systems.