U.S. boats may escape tariffs – for now

CHICAGO – U.S.-made boats may escape tariffs should a trade war erupt between the United States and Canada over the “Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act” – also known as the “Byrd Amendment” – the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported in a release to its members yesterday.

NMMA said the Canadian Marine Manufacturers Association recently received a letter from the Hon. Jim Peterson, the Canadian Minister of International Trade, outlining positive developments for the industry regarding the inclusion of U.S.-made boats on Canada’s list of retaliatory sanctions.

In his letter, Peterson writes, “yachts and other vessels for pleasure and sport would be unlikely candidates for retaliation until 2008.”

These tariffs were proposed by Canada in response to the Byrd Amendment, which mandates distribution of antidumping and countervailing duties to companies that have petitioned for trade protection and other supporters of the petition.

Two years ago, the World Trade Organization declared that the Byrd Amendment violated U.S. international trade obligations, and the Canadian government quickly proposed a 100-percent tax to imported products from the U.S., including pleasure vessels such as yachts, sailboats, motorboats, inflatables and canoes.

NMMA is hopeful the industry’s voice has now been heard as a result of meetings with and letters to Canadian Members of Parliament, key federal officials, and the Trade Minister.

“The Minister and his staff are aware of the adverse consequences for both U.S. and Canadian manufacturers that would result from keeping the U.S. recreational boating industry on the retaliatory list,” NMMA said. “While not a complete victory, we are hopeful that the Canadian government will eventually remove boats from the list.

“NMMA thanks all of its members for their participation in the grassroots effort to make our industry’s voice heard by the Canadian government. This is a great example of the power of the recreational boating industry when it unites behind a cause.”

NMMA said it and CMMA will remain vigilant on the issue and will continue to work with the Canadian federal government to ensure that boats are removed once and for all from the list.

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