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NMMA testifies against aluminum tax

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association testified against a proposed 60 percent import duty on Chinese aluminum at a U.S. International Trade Commission hearing in December.

John McKnight, NMMA vice president of government affairs, stressed the importance of  aluminum for the boating industry, especially with post-recession production finally on the rise.

“I’m kind of unclear as to why it is that the Commerce Department would actively try to threaten our industry by cutting off the supply of a critical raw material,” McKnight testified, according to a transcript of the hearing.

McKnight said there is not enough supply of common alloy aluminum sheeting to meet demand, with only two mills in the U.S. that are able to produce the sheets at the 72-inch-or-wider width needed by boat manufacturers.

“If China is to cut off its source of supply, it is my understanding that this material would be sourced from other countries and not from U.S. mills because the U.S. mills don’t have the capacity to supply the material,” McKnight testified.

U.S. aluminum producers have backed the proposed tax, saying the prices at which China has been selling aluminum in the U.S. have undercut domestic prices, negatively affecting the U.S. aluminum industry.

McKnight complained at the hearing that this proposal had largely flown under the radar.

“We found out about this two weeks ago, and I’ve been calling around to other industries that are similar to ours,” he said. “They have no idea that this is happening. And I think it’s really important with this group that you take a hard look at the downstream effect of end users  because decisions that you can make could affect U.S. business in a much greater way than just the impact to the aluminum, which has been very well organized today.”

The NMMA is a marine industry trade association in North America, whose members produce more than 80 percent of the recreational marine products sold in the United States. Groups that joined the NMMA in protesting the proposal at the hearing included the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association.

For more information and a link to the transcript of the hearing, visit www.nmma.org.

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