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Trade war will cost U.S. boatbuilder jobs

The NMMA is holding a webinar Wednesday for boatbuilders like Sabre and Back Cove who believe tariffs will hurt their business.

The NMMA is holding a webinar Wednesday for boatbuilders like Sabre and Back Cove who believe tariffs will hurt their business.

Canada’s tariffs on U.S.-built boats will cost Americans jobs, said Back Cove Yachts and Sabre Yachts sales and marketing vice president Bentley Collins.

“My typical worker of an hourly-wage job works about 2,000 hours a year,” Collins told Trade Only Today. “When you equate that to the number of boats a small company like us will not sell in Canada, we’re going to lose between six and 10 boat builders. Our export business will basically go away. And that really is a matter of jobs.”

Canada announced a 10 percent tariff on U.S.-built boats to retaliate against President Trump’s 10 percent tariff on aluminum and 25 percent tariff on steel.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association issued a Boating United alert urging members and recreational marine stakeholders to sign a petition asking President Trump to reconsider tariffs on aluminum and steel.

“The escalating trade war is threatening the entire recreational boating industry,” the NMMA wrote in the alert.

It takes around 2,000 hours to build a boat at the Maine-based boatyard, even on smaller boats like the Back Cove 32, Collins said.

“That’s the reality of this countervailing duty Canada has imposed,” said Collins. “I can’t blame them. President Trump’s imposed these duties on aluminum and steel. So now that we’ve got this trade war, we’ve got jobs lost on both sides of the border. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Though Canada has a large boating population, there are few Canadian builders, Collins said.

“That’s literally thousands of boats that won’t go into Canada,” said Collins. “In the case of a company like Back Cove and Sabre that take a lot of man hours to build, if that business stops or slows down, lots of jobs get cast aside.”

The NMMA is holding a webinar on Wednesday at 2 p.m. to discuss the tariffs affecting the U.S. marine industry.

The industry is being targeted by three different types of tariffs: Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese aluminum sheet, and 301 tariffs on nearly 300 marine related products.

As a result, the industry is experiencing rising manufacturing costs, retaliatory tariffs, and order cancelations, the NMMA said.

Register for the webinar here.

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