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Proposed tariffs on Mexican imports would hurt recreational boating industry

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Last week, President Trump announced a plan to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods from Mexico as a way to push the country’s leaders to curb illegal immigration into the United States. The tariffs would begin June 10 and increase by 5 percent at the start of every month through October 1, unless the Mexican government provides “satisfactory assistance” in the administration’s efforts to slow illegal immigration.

The proposed tariffs would be problematic for marine manufacturers, many of whom rely on a North American supply chain to remain competitive. The administration’s actions could jeopardize the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement — which the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association has worked to ratify — potentially creating confusion for the recreational boating industry.

“While we share the administration’s frustration with our broken immigration system, applying tariffs to solve the issue is counterproductive and will have damaging consequences to our industry,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in an email to Trade Only Today. “Not only will this action increase the price of the $450 million in boats and engines that marine manufacturers import from Mexico each year — not to mention countless components, materials, and parts — it jeopardizes ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA), which our industry has relentlessly advocated for.”

He continued, “The recreational boating industry relies on fair and free trade in North America to remain domestically and globally competitive. Using tariffs in an attempt to solve an unrelated issue will come at a great cost to our industry and the 35,000 businesses and 650,000 American jobs we support.”

NMMA says it is still analyzing the potential fallout of the tariffs, saying that virtually all the industry’s $450 million in annual imports of boats and engines from Mexico, plus all the parts and accessories, will be affected. 

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