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Retaliatory tariffs on boats to EU start today

Carver Yachts’ European dealer cancelled orders due to a 25 percent retaliatory tariff. Shown here is the C52 Command Bridge.

Carver Yachts’ European dealer cancelled orders due to a 25 percent retaliatory tariff. Shown here is the C52 Command Bridge.

The 25 percent tariff the EU announced Wednesday on U.S.-built boats kicks in today, and a 10 percent tariff on boats sold to Canada will start July 1, prompting boatbuilders to worry they will lose sales to those countries.

A European dealer for Carver Yachts cancelled two boat orders, leading the company to scramble to reconfigure the boats for U.S. customers, Carver, Marquis and Larson Boat Group president Rob Parmentier told Trade Only Today.

“Nobody wants to be stuck with a boat that’s priced 25 percent higher than it was two months ago,” Parmentier said.

The dealer won’t order more Carver Yachts while they face a 25 percent levy, according to Parmentier.

“Everybody realizes tariffs come and go, at some point in time you can’t continue to have a global trade war,” Parmentier said. “The problem is that for us little guys doing business every day, it hurts.”

“To say our industry is concerned about the European Union’s 25 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. boats would be an understatement,” National Marine Manufacturers Association government and legal affairs vice president Nicole Vasilaros told Trade Only Today. “A 25 percent import tax makes our products unmarketable in a location that accounts for 22 percent — $338.5 million — of annual U.S. boat exports.”

Even more concerning for Parmentier is the 10 percent tariff Canada will impose on boats from the United States in a little over a week — 20 percent of Larson Boat Group sales are in Canada, across the border from where the Larson, Striper, LarsonFX, Escape, and Triumph brands are built.

The boating industry is affected by these tariffs and is the only recreational industry facing retaliatory tariffs from Canada, the European Union, and Mexico.

As a result, the price of domestically sold boats is rising rapidly and U.S. boats are becoming “unmarketable in other countries,” according to the NMMA.

Canada, Mexico, and the EU are the top three export markets for American-made marine products and in 2017 they accounted for nearly 70 percent of marine exports. Canada is the No. 1 importer of American-made boats.

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