Brunswick CEO defends its dumping position

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Brunswick Corp. Chairman and CEO George W. Buckley released a letter this morning explaining his company’s reasoning and motivation for filing its anti-dumping complaint against Japanese marine engine manufacturers earlier this year.

The letter, which Buckley said was written in response to requests from members of the marine media for clarification of the activities surrounding the U.S. government’s dumping investigation, explained how dumping works, then discussed Brunswick’s perspective on the issue.

“Brunswick has confidentiality agreements in place with certain parties, including Yamaha and Genmar, which limit our ability to comment on some business and legal issues,” Buckley wrote. “This context is important because our being prevented from commenting on specific issues does not necessarily make an opposing point of view valid.

“This is what the issue boils down to. Dumping inexorably and relentlessly transfers business to the foreign manufacturer, leading to the loss of American jobs. We believe that the strident supporters of foreign manufacturers that engage in dumping essentially support and endorse the wholesale transfer of American jobs to Japan.

“We also believe that dumping was a significant contributor to the demise and eventual bankruptcy of Outboard Marine Corp., and that they, and Mercury’s outboard business, have been tragically harmed by dumping’s anti-competitive impact.”

Buckley asks for fairness

Buckley went on to say that Japan has many practices in place to protect its domestic manufacturers. He said that until recently, Mercury had to disassemble every tenth American-made engine it imported into Japan in front of Japanese customs officers for them to “make sure the imported product met Japanese quality standards.”

“This process was clearly designed to impose a hidden tariff on American imports and was a de facto 11 percent import duty on the imported product,” Buckley wrote. “Even today, nearly every inflatable boat Brunswick imports into Japan must be inflated in front of a customs officer ‘to ensure it meets Japanese quality standards.’ Is this anyone’s version of fair competition and a level playing field? All we ask for is fairness and reciprocity.”

Buckley said Brunswick’s strategy is not about vertical integration, but about eliminating the obvious product interfaces where things go wrong, and most importantly, building the capabilities to do what’s right for consumers and the boating industry.

“We eventually intend to offer consumers end-to-end warranties on our boats and to reach out to quality dealers in the industry to partner with us in bringing better products and services to consumers,” Buckley wrote. “We appeal to everyone in the boating industry, users and manufacturers alike, to defend fair competition and fight the dumping that has ruined so many other industries in this wonderful country of ours.”

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