Tariffs hurting American boating industry

An international trade war between the U.S. and its traditional economic allies could have another victim on its hands: the American boating industry.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association warned in a news release the industry is facing a “triple threat” from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as well as taxes on nearly 300 marine-related products. Tariffs, the trade group said, could ultimately affect $1.7 billion worth of marine exports.

Regal Marine Industries, an Orlando-based company that builds luxury boats, said it’s trying to avoid passing the additional costs along to the consumers -- but can’t hold off forever.

“We don’t want to,” CEO Duane Kuck said during an interview with FOX Business’ Gerri Willis on Thursday. “We want to keep boats affordable for our consumers, but eventually, it’s not sustainable for these tariffs on the Chinese goods to not eventually get passed on to the consumer.”

In response to President Trump’s tax on foreign steel and aluminum imports, the European Union slapped a 25 percent tariff on American products like motorcycles, bourbon, blue jeans and boats.

The American boating industry employs 650,000 people at manufacturers, marinas and dealers, and 95 percent of the boats sold in the U.S. are entirely American-made. Canada is also targeting the industry, with a 10 percent tariff on boats.

For Regal, Canada and the EU accounted for about 20 percent of their business. And in an interview with The Associated Press, Kuck warned that tariffs could force the company to cut about 40 jobs.

“It’s hitting very hard and very quick,” he said.