While DOC was conducting its investigation, NATM’s Government Affairs Committee Chairman Rick Russell along with representatives from the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association met with DOC staff. The group outlined the specific challenges facing manufacturers in their industries and the difficulties they have been facing since the prospect of tariffs was raised.
NATM has also reached out to key Members of Congress to raise concerns about the tariffs. The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee hold primary jurisdiction over trade issues. Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) wrote a letter to President Trump emphasizing their concerns over the prospect of the tariffs and additional Congressional engagement and oversight is expected to take place as the process continues.
As of the writing of this article, a number of countries have been granted exemptions from the tariffs. The exempted countries include Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and countries comprising the European Union. In the coming months, the International Trade Commission is expected to hold hearings on the subject. NATM will be working with affected members to compile data on industry impacts that will be an important part of the ongoing process. As with the ST tire tariff case, critical information concerning domestic availability, supply chain availability and related issues are key elements of final decisions in trade cases.
With the Trump administration’s continued pursuit of such cases, it is believed that it is likely that domestic producers of other products may also seek to have tariffs applied to competing imports. While negotiations concerning a wide range of trade deals including NAFTA and pursuit of bi-lateral trade agreements are ongoing, there does not appear to be a clear end in sight for those talks. Continued imposition of tariffs will be disruptive to manufacturing across a wide array of sectors. As these issues develop, NATM will remain engaged with legislators, regulators and industry partners to share the concerns of the light- and medium-duty trailer industry and work to mitigate the impact on the industry.
About the Authors
Darrell Conner is a Government Affairs Counselor and Dennis Potter is a Government Affairs Advisor at the law and lobbying firm of K&L Gates, where they represent NATM and other clients on legislative, regulatory, policy and political matters. Conner can be reached at Darrell.Conner@klgates.com and Potter can be reached at Dennis.Potter@klgates.com.