Aluminum Tariffs: A Triple Threat to US Manufacturing | Global Trade Magazine
International Trade
  March 12th, 2018 | Written by

Aluminum Tariffs: A Triple Threat to US Manufacturing

Industry Association Warns There Are No Winners in Trade Wars

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  • What was intended to promote American manufacturing may instead undercut the industry.
  • Aluminum tariffs are a blow to US boatmakers that rely on US aluminum.
  • Commerce Department dealt blow to US boatmakers by proposing tariffs of 96 percent on aluminum sheet.
  • Administration actions are driving up the cost of primary materials used to manufacture boats.
  • Retaliatory tariffs by the EU threaten to cut off the second largest foreign market for US recreational boats.

As the European Union considers punitive tariffs in response to the Trump Administration’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum, Thom Dammrich, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), which represents the North American recreational boating industry, reiterated how a trade war could damage the  US recreational boating industry and American economy alike.

“European Union leaders have made one thing crystal clear: there are no winners in a trade war,” Dammrich said. “In this instance, the administration’s actions have had opposite the desired effect. What was intended to promote American manufacturing may instead undercut the industry, not once but three times.”

Trump’s decision to implement new aluminum tariffs was a blow to industries like boatmakers that rely, not on imported aluminum, but US aluminum. That industry, Dammrich explained, depends “on sound trade policies to safeguard a competitive global market.” “The Department of Commerce dealt the second blow by proposing more severe tariffs of up to 96 percent on common alloy aluminum sheet,” he added. “This action will only further drive up the cost of primary materials used to manufacture 111,000 aluminum boats each year, which make up 43 percent of new powerboat sales annually.”

NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, marine accessories, and gear used by boaters in North America.

Retaliatory tariffs imposed by the EU, Dammrich continued, “would be the third blow. “Retaliatory tariffs on recreational boats by the EU will go further, threatening to cut off the second largest foreign market for recreational boats,” he explained. “What’s more, from 2016 to 2017, US exports of recreational marine products grew by 9.6 percent, but that economic gain is now under threat. Industries like ours that add $37 billion to the United States economy annually, and support 650,000 American jobs shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought.

“Millions of American workers are counting on the administration to put their needs first,” Dammrich concluded, “and not start a trade war that could put them out of business and out of a job.”


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