Following Friday’s story on TradeOnlyToday.com regarding NMMA member testimony before the U.S Trade Representative on Section 301 tariffs, the National Marine Manufacturers Association released an insider’s video about the hearings. The hearings conclude today, following the testimony of hundreds of businesses.
On Friday, the NMMA also gained national media attention after Nicole Vasilaros, senior vice president of government affairs, appeared on Fox News and NPR’s Marketplace to discuss the impacts of the tariffs on the boating industry.
Vasilaros emphasized that U.S. boatbuilders are already being squeezed by small margins and the tariffs are hitting the industry from multiple angles. “When you force American companies to pay taxes on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports—parts, components and materials that these companies have relied on for decades to build quality American products that are not only sold here in the U.S. but around the globe—you’re paralyzing a significant part of the American economy,” she said during the Fox broadcast. “Why put American businesses and American jobs at risk when there are better ways to go about fighting unfair trade,”
Vasilaros also testified before the U.S. Trade Representative Committee earlier in the week. “The recreational boating industry will continue to suffer the consequences as American business are subjected to compounding tariffs that disrupt global supply chains and increase the cost of U.S. manufacturing,” she said. “Simply put, doubling down on bad trade policy will wreak havoc on American-made industries.”
Chris Welch, supply chain manager for Magic Tilt Trailers, also emphasized the impact on his company during the hearings. “Although Secretary Ross was able to demonstrate on television that 25 percent steel tariffs will have little impact on the overall cost of a can of soup, the reality of our situation couldn’t be more opposite,” Welch testified. “I don’t think the Secretary would have garnered the same visual result had he presented a 2-ton steel boat trailer as his example.”
Welch continued, according to the NMMA, to describe the tariff fallout. “Price increases along our entire supply chain on metal products have been swift and significant since the domestic steel and aluminum premium markets moved north,” he told the committee.
“Fewer orders means that fewer Americans will be employed in occupations from warehouse work to web development,” added John Hoge, president of Sea Eagle Boats, during the testimony. “Marketing budgets will have to be cut sharply and that will mean cancelled orders for advertising, catalog printing, video production and digital marketing. Fewer orders means less business for carriers such as FedEx and UPS. Jobs that are currently secure will be lost overnight.”
Here is the video the group made following the hearings.