The National Marine Manufacturers Association said it sent comments to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s office on Monday regarding a request for negotiating objectives to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The NMMA said the boating industry is keenly interested in the renegotiation and any consequential changes proposed, and it urged the Trade Representative’s office to approach any renegotiations with an understanding of the key role Canada and Mexico play for U.S. marine manufacturers as two of the three top boating markets for U.S. marine products, sales and supply chain needs.
The NMMA said the majority of its comments prioritized the need to maintain tariffs for recreational marine products, protect supply chains, modify rules-of-origin rules calculations for marine engines, reduce technical barriers to trade and promote transparent regulations.
The NMMA said the marine industry is a uniquely American-made industry — 95 percent of the marine products used in the United States are made in this country — and manufacturers are avid exporters, making a mark in more than 100 countries worldwide, and NAFTA is vital to business performance.
The NMMA said that in 2016 Canada was the top destination for U.S. recreational exports with $517.6 million in export value; Mexico was the No. 3 overall export destination, totaling $121.6 million for marine boats and engines.
The NMMA said it will continue to work closely with the Trump administration and Lighthizer on NAFTA reforms to ensure that the industry’s interests are represented. Formal negotiations will not begin until mid-August.