European dealers cancel US boat orders in anticipation of tariffs

By Arlene Sloan
Tue Jun 12 2018, 17:08 PM

Industry leaders on both sides of the Atlantic appeal to Trump

European marine trade associations warned last week that retaliatory action proposed by the EU in response to import tariffs imposed by the US on steel and aluminium has already resulted in cancelled orders for American boats by dealers in Europe.

Meeting in Berlin last week, marine industry associations from over 30 countries listened intently to Nicole Vasilaros, government and legal affairs council for the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), describing the US marine industry’s reaction to unwelcome tariff actions initiated by the Trump Administration.

The tariffs threaten to disrupt both domestic boat and equipment supply chains and distort production costs in the US, as well as the flow of boat exports to Europe and Canada.

The brewing trade war between the US, Europe and Canada was one of the key topics discussed at the annual Congress, hosted by the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA). It was particularly relevant as one of the main reasons behind formation of ICOMIA over 50 years ago was to facilitate international trade within the boating industry, while reducing tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.

In a move to reinforce the industry's collective objection to Trump’s steel and aluminium tariffs and subsequent retaliatory responses announced by Europe, Canada and China, it was agreed that Udo Kleinitz and Thom Dammrich, the respective chief executives of ICOMIA and the NMMA, would write a second letter to President Trump this week emphasising the detrimental impact of the tariffs on the global boating business, and urging the Administration to reverse its decision.

The two organisations teamed up with European Boating Industry (EBI) earlier this year to voice the industry’s global objection when the US initially announced the pending tariffs. The EBI is expected to be a signatory to the industry’s latest communication to the White House.

The EU has published a preliminary list of US manufactured products which will attract retaliatory import tariffs and is expected to finalise it on Thursday. The product codes listed below indicate the specific boat categories included on the EU’s targeted list, and while not yet confirmed, the rate applied to leisure boats and related equipment is anticipated to be 25%. Canada recently announced a similar response, imposing a 10% import duty on US-made boats including powerboats, sailboats and inflatables.

89039110 Sea-going sailboats and yachts, with or without auxiliary motor, for pleasure or sports

89039190 Sailboats and yachts, with or without auxiliary motor, for pleasure or sports (excl. seagoing vessels)

89039210 Sea-going motorboats and motoryachts, for pleasure or sports (other than outboard motorboats)

89039291 Motor boats for pleasure or sports, of a length <= 7,5 m (other than outboard motorboats)

89039299 Motor boats for pleasure or sports, of a length > 7,5 m (other than outboard motorboats and excl. seagoing motorboats)

89039910 Vessels for pleasure or sports, rowing boats and canoes, of a weight <= 100 kg each (excl. motorboats powered other than by outboard motors, sailboats with or without auxiliary motor and inflatable boats