The past few weeks have been good for the boating industry related to Canada and Mexico. President Trump lifted the 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel and Canada lifted the retaliatory tariffs that were hurting our industry on both sides of the border.
Now we are focused on the final step of putting the North American trade war behind us; getting the U.S., Mexico, Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) approved. USMCA is the replacement for NAFTA which the Administration touts as a much better deal for the U.S.
Recently I was invited to speak at a forum attended by Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senator Rick Scott and other elected offcials to discuss the USMCA. As the only non-elected panel member, I was asked to represent the business view and, of course, the boating industry.
I realized at the event that many people are not aware of some of the new benefits of USMCA that will help our industry:
Increased IP Protection
U.S. boat builders are the envy of the world because we have a strong focus on innovation. It is important to our industry that global IP protection is strengthened and USMCA does that.
Better Regulatory Guidelines
In the past, countries could create regulations that created non-monetary trade barriers to U.S. products. USMCA works to reverse that.
Improved Certification Rules
Other non-monetary trade barriers previously included creating duplicative certification requirements that (even though the U.S. already has very high certification requirements, especially for boating) created hurdles for exporting U.S. companies. The USMCA works to reduce those duplicative hurdles.
New Minimum Wage Requirements
The new $16/hour minimum wage for auto workers will not only level the playing field for U.S. manufacturing companies, but also both benefit Mexican workers and increase global consumers for U.S. products.
The NMMA supports congressional approval of USMCA and we should all rally around it to get it done. We can then focus our attention on finalizing trade deals with the EU and China.
Bill Yeargin is the president and CEO of Correct Craft.