Marine Industry Condemns Aluminum and Steel Tariffs

March 2018 Feature Trade Only News

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is condemning the Trump administration’s move to impose a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum and a 25 percent tariff on imported steel, saying the president has chosen 150,000 steel workers over 6.5 billion workers in industries that rely on the metals.

“With 43 percent of boats sold last year being aluminum based, 22,000 marine jobs and $3 billion dollars in sales, we simply cannot stand by as a critical raw material faces increase costs and supply shortages,” NMMA federal and legal affairs vice president Nicole Vasilaros told Trade Only Today.

On Thursday President Trump made good on his promise to impose tariffs, which will go into effect in two weeks and exclude Canada and Mexico.

Canada is the largest supplier of aluminum to the United States; Europe is second, according to the Washington Post.

This aluminum tariff is in addition to tariffs that will result from anti-dumping and countervailing duties on common alloy aluminum sheet from China; that could result in as much as a 60 percent increase in tariffs on aluminum imported from China.

The European Union said this week it would impose a variety of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports in response to the 25 percent duty on steel, and included recreational boats on its list of targets. It has not yet issued a response to the aluminum duties.

“This is just the beginning," NMMA president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only, adding that retaliatory tariffs will next thing we’re in global trade war and in full blown recession if this gets out of hand."

“We are opposed to the administration’s action,” Vasilaros said. “Ten percent — on top of the impending antidumping investigation — will make a significant impact on aluminum manufacturer costs. This has the potential to start a trade war with implications far more broad than just aluminum. If the EU were to impose a tariff on boats, as our second biggest export market, the impact of U.S. manufacturers to be globally competitive would be hard felt.”

The auto industry has also condemned the move, saying that the tariffs will most greatly harm Trump’s supporters, according to NBC.

“This could backfire tremendously,” said automotive analyst David Sullivan of AutoPacific, NBC reported — especially at a time when the auto industry is already showing signs of weakening sales that could result in lower profits and more job cuts.

Sullivan called the president’s tariffs plan “a very tone-deaf move that could negatively impact a lot of workers,” many of which voted for Trump in 2016 in critical swing states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. It could also harm more solid Republican states such as South Carolina and Alabama that have become major automotive manufacturing centers, NBC reported Sulllivan saying.

“The most immediate losers are the industries that rely on steel and aluminum as an input and will face higher prices,” stated The New York Times. “That includes some of the nation’s biggest industries: the automobile sector; aerospace; heavy equipment; and construction. In short, the chassis of a Ford, the body of a Caterpillar bulldozer, the wings of a Boeing aircraft, and the steel girders inside a New York skyscraper are all about to get more expensive.”

That also would extend to boats. Though often overlooked in national media, the U.S. boating industry manufacturers 95 percent of the boats it sells in America, according to the NMMA.

“The administration’s short-sighted decision to implement new tariffs is meant to fulfill a campaign promise rather than support robust, pro-growth trade policy,” said the NMMA in a statement. “This action will hurt countless manufacturers and uniquely American industries like ours that support 650,000 American jobs and $37 billion in sales each year.”

“The recreational boating industry is disheartened that the Administration has chosen to ignore the warnings from American manufacturers, members of Congress, and aluminum producers alike,” the NMMA said. “Today’s action threatens the livelihood of Americans in aluminum and steel using industries. The President has chosen 150,000 workers in the steel and aluminum industry over the 6.5 million workers in user industries.”

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