NMMA Deeply Troubled by Formal Adoption of Tariffs on Aluminum Sheet

On Friday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued its final decision in the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations into common alloy aluminum sheet from China, which affirmed the Trump administration’s 96.3 percent to 176.2 percent duties on the material. Leading up to the ITC’s action, NMMA urged the government to remove all duties on aluminum sheet in official comments and testimony, arguing the tariffs were causing significant harm to the industry.

In response, NMMA president, Thom Dammrich, stated, “The ITC’s approval of the 96.3 to 176.2 percent duties on common aluminum sheet from China makes it clear that the commission and administration are not concerned by the downstream fallout of this action – consequences that have been taking a toll on multiple American industries, including marine manufacturing, since the U.S. Department of Commerce self-initiated these investigations nearly a year ago. Unfortunately, the antidumping and countervailing duties are on top of the Trump administration’s 10 percent tariff on virtually all aluminum imports.” 

Dammrich continued, “These investigations and the resulting duties have had two immediate impacts on our industry: higher production costs and material shortages. Boat builders are seeing a 30 to 40 percent price increase for aluminum sheet, even though the vast majority source the material domestically. In addition, the compounding tariffs on Chinese aluminum sheet have strained the global supply, making it difficult for our industry to find enough aluminum sheet to keep up with manufacturing demand. 

“In simple terms, this is troubling news for marine manufacturers and the people they employ. Aluminum boats represent 44 percent of new boats sold each year and account for approximately 22,000 American jobs. 

“NMMA is calling on the Trump administration to back off their tariffs first trade policy. Very few people deny that our trading relationships, especially with China, need to be reformed, but the current strategy is counterproductive. Striking long-term, binding agreements that foster free and fair trade is the most prudent way to protect America’s economic interests and workers.”

In a bit of good news for the industry, the ITC also issued a negative critical circumstances decision. As a result, imports of aluminum sheet from China will not be subject to retroactive antidumping or countervailing duties – which means that importers with entries during the 90-day retroactive periods from exporters subject to critical circumstances will have their liability for any duties during those time periods released. This will not happen, however, until the Department of Commerce instructs U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to release the funds.

NMMA will continue to work with the government on these issues and explore avenues of relief from tariffs. For more information, please contact NMMA senior vice president of government relations and legal affairs, Nicole Vasilaros at nvasilaros@nmma.org or NMMA director of federal affairs, Lance West at lwest@nmma.org.