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U.S. boat and engine exports up 15 percent in 2018, despite tariffs

Courtesy Peters and May

Courtesy Peters and May

The National Marine Manufacturers Association reported that exports of boats and engines were $2 billion in 2018, up 15 percent from the previous year. The association said that 2018 boat and engine imports were up 5 percent to “an all-time high” of $3.3 billion.

The NMMA released the data in the sixth section of its 2018 U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, Boat and Engine Exports and Imports 1996-2018.

The NMMA said in its e-newsletter Currents that the report includes 23 years of historical trending data on the dollar value and number of categories of recreational boats and engines imported to and exported from the United States each year. The report provides detail by hull material, length and product type. Tables on the value of exports and imports by trading region also are included.

“Much of the increase in 2018 reflected a boost in exports before the retaliatory tariffs in Canada, Mexico and the European Union took effect as an effort by U.S. manufacturers and international distributors to avoid paying the additional tax,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in the statement. “After these tariffs were implemented, boat exports to Canada, Mexico and the European Union were down 24 percent in the second half of 2018.”

The trading regions where the U.S. shipped the most recreational boats and marine engines in 2018 were Canada, Western Europe and Mexico. The US imported the most recreational boats and marine engines from Japan, Western Europe and Mexico.

In the Lowrance-Motorguide story, could you add this as a paragraph at the bottom? Lowrance introduced its own trolling motor at ICAST last week. Garmin also launched a trolling motor at the industry trade show. 

Dammrich said the U.S. has “historically” been a net exporter of outboard boats. “But the trade war and subsequent counter-tariffs are having the reverse effect by making American products less competitive abroad and opening the door for new market entrants from other countries,” he said.

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