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VIDEO: Boat manufacturers to meet this month with members of Congress on possible aluminum sheet duties

Pontoons could be affected by steep duties on aluminum alloy sheet metal imported from China. A total of 35,500 aluminum pontoons were sold in 2016, comprising 14 percent of the market, the National Marine Manufacturers Association said.

Pontoons could be affected by steep duties on aluminum alloy sheet metal imported from China. A total of 35,500 aluminum pontoons were sold in 2016, comprising 14 percent of the market, the National Marine Manufacturers Association said.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is urging boat builders and others who use aluminum sheet to meet with the Department of Commerce on Capitol Hill to discuss concerns about potential duties on aluminum imports from China.

Sheet aluminum could be facing a more than 60 percent price increase because of “an unprecedented move” the U.S. Department of Commerce made in November, according to the NMMA.

Boat and component manufacturers that use aluminum alloy sheet metal are likely to see prices rise as early as February after the U.S. International Trade Commission found that imports of the product from China harm American producers.

“I don’t think, on any realistic level, there’s any chance that [the Commerce Department] will not impose duties,” said Jeff Grimson, a lawyer at Mowry & Grimson, during a webinar last month.

Boat builders and trailer manufacturers are invited to meet with members of Congress on Capitol Hill Feb. 27 to discuss the potential impact of a 60-percent increase in aluminum sheet.

A roundtable discussion and Q&A with Mowry & Crimson legal trade counsel will take place Feb. 28, followed by lunch and a meeting with Lee Smith, deputy assistant secretary for policy and negotiations with the Department of Commerce.

The NMMA is engaging the Department of Commerce’s investigation into common alloy sheet aluminum imports.

“As you will recall, this investigation may result in import duties 60 percent or higher as well as supply disruptions from both domestic and foreign mills,” said NMMA federal and legal affairs vice president Nicole Vasilaros in an email to members.

“As Commerce and the International Trade Commission continue to investigate, now is a critical time to meet with lawmakers and key decision makers to voice our industry concern and the potential impact high tariffs can have on such a critical raw material for the marine industry,” she said.

Vasilaros recorded a short video, which can you can check out here, asking manufacturers to contact their members of Congress to let them know how a steep tariff hike could affect them.

“What can you do about it? We need you to contact your member of Congress now,” Vasilaros said in the video. “Tell them about the jobs, the people that you employ in your businesses, and what the impact of 60 percent or even higher tariffs could have on your overall product.”

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