Mar 7, 2018

Tariff would be on top of the Department of Commerce aluminum sheet tariff NMMA has been fighting

On March 1st, President Trump announced that he decided to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum–a tariff that is separate from the Department of Commerce anti-dumping and countervailing investigation on common alloy aluminum sheet from China that NMMA has been fighting.

In his announcement, the President determined he would place a tariff of 25 percent on foreign-made steel and 10 percent on aluminum. This decision was made based on the statutory authority of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to conduct comprehensive investigations to determine the effects of imports on the national security of the U.S. Based on this investigation, the Secretary of Commerce will make recommendations to the President on how to address any potential issues, however, the final decision is made by the President.

In response to the announcement from the White House, NMMA President Thom Dammrich said, “Today’s decision by the Administration to implement new tariffs severely harms the $37 billion U.S. recreational boating industry and the 650,000 American workers it supports. While these tariffs are meant to protect American manufacturing, they do just the opposite. U.S. manufacturers, like those in our industry, which use American-made aluminum, depend on a competitive global market and fair pricing. What’s more, U.S. aluminum manufacturers are at capacity and unable to supply the wide-width aluminum sheet used by our members, forcing them to seek it overseas.”

Dammrich continued, “The implementation of these aluminum tariffs, in combination with the additional, even larger tariffs on aluminum sheet proposed by the Department of Commerce, will drive up the costs of the aluminum used to manufacture more than 111,000 aluminum boats, such as pontoons and fishing boats, which make up 43 percent of new powerboat sales each year. Further harming the industry, the aluminum sheet our members are forced to source overseas will likely continue to be in short supply in the U.S., destroying our members’ ability to build boats in the U.S. As a result, the jobs of the American workers who build these boats, their engines and components, are now in jeopardy.”

It’s important to note, however, that there is not yet a formal policy on the steel and aluminum tariff announcement. President Trump made a verbal commitment and we will see the details next week, which would include any exemptions, the process for applying, and whether the tariffs apply to all countries. The tariffs have sparked widespread concern in Washington and opposition from Congressional leaders and business industry groups.

Separately, NMMA is continuing to fight the case we began engaging on in November focused on anti-dumping and countervailing on common alloy aluminum sheet from China. NMMA has been activating on the investigation in hopes of minimizing any additional tariff. This investigation is what the NMMA federal affairs and NMMA members were in Washington addressing earlier this week. Any tariff from this would be on top of the tariff announced by the White House yesterday, but only apply to aluminum sheet from China. In contrast, the tariff on steel and aluminum announced by the White House would apply to a much broader range of aluminum products and impacts all countries, unless otherwise noted. As a result, potential tariffs on aluminum sheet in the marine industry could be in excess of 60 percent. The department of Commerce is expected to announce its determination on this tariff in April.

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