‘It’s killed our international business’

Despite tariff relief talk from China, Marquis CEO Rob Parmentier says he can’t deliver boats to Europe and import duties from China have forced him to raise prices three times this year.
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A boat sits in the Marquis factory waiting to be shipped. Photo courtesy CGTN.com.

A boat sits in the Marquis factory waiting to be shipped. Photo courtesy CGTN.com.

In case anyone still has questions about the impact that tariffs have had on the recreational boating industry, Rob Parmentier, President/CEO of Carver-Marquis in Pulaski, Wis., recently made things pretty clear.

“I have orders for seven of the new Marquis 42s from a dealer in Europe, but we can’t deliver anything until the tariffs are gone,” he told Trade Only Today. “We can’t add 25 percent to the cost of the boat. We just can’t ship anything to Europe.”

Parmentier added that there’s still a 15 percent tariff from Mexico that impacts its sales.

Parmentier went into more detail during a TV interview about the tariffs with CGTN.com. Carver-Marquis employs about 350 people in Pulaski. Parmentier told the TV station that the company has been “hammered by rising tariffs.”

“We pride ourselves on being an American company,” he said. “We really are almost 100 percent American component boat. But those components are all made of raw materials. A lot of those raw materials come from China, Europe and Mexico. Henceforth, the tariffs. It has had a huge effect.”

The company has had to increase prices three times in the last 18 months because of the tariffs, Parmentier said. But the tariffs aren’t just impacting construction. Once a boat is complete, it is subject to further tariffs on exports, which makes up about 30 percent of the company’s sales.

“No customer wants to be the last customer to pay a tariff, so what happens is they don’t buy American boats,” said Parmentier. “It’s killed our international business.”

While U.S. unemployment is at record lows, some are saying that manufacturing output is already in a recession. Federal reserve figures show that manufacturing has been down for two straight quarters this year, Chad Hart, an economist at Iowa State University, said in the television report.

“I think when you look, the economy is growing but there are also growing concerns that a recession is fairly close by,” Hart said.

Parmentier didn’t need any experts to tell him. “My business is really a telltale sign of a recession as it is the first thing people stop,” he said. “I am right on that line. If something does not get done pretty soon [about tariffs], there is a very good chance we will have to lay some people off. You can’t keep going and miss 30 percent of your business.”

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