Steel and Aluminum Tariffs
Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs currently in place are far too broad and have only created new challenges for American manufacturers to the benefit of foreign competitors. Steel and aluminum tariffs negatively impact RV production in the U.S. in several ways:
The tariffs have a significant adverse impact on RV manufacturers and suppliers, even those who use domestic steel and aluminum, through increased production costs;
Even before the tariffs were implemented, domestic steel and aluminum producers were increasing their prices to downstream industry users, by amounts between 10 and 30 percent;
The Section 232 tariffs indirectly subsidize RV Industry Association members’ foreign competitors;
Prices to the consumer on RV models at retail in March of 2018 are up 8.5% versus the same time last year.
The RV Industry Association supports targeted trade action on bad actors but opposes broad steel and aluminum tariffs on allies and adversaries alike which increase the cost to manufacture RVs and their components.
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) provides duty-free treatment to specific goods imported from approximately 120 developing countries that are not available domestically, which boosts the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and lowers the cost of consumer goods for American families. The RV industry uses GSP to source lauan, a type of strong, flexible wood panel, that is a required input in nearly every RV manufactured in the United States. Lauan from Indonesia qualified under GSP for more than a decade until it lost its waiver in 2015 due to exceeding the allowable percentage of imports from a single country. Thanks to the effort of the RV Industry Association, the majority of Indonesian lauan has been deemed eligible for the program. A small subset of shorter boards remains excluded.
Lauan is not domestically grown and is only available from southeastern Asia. Because of this, lauan’s eligibility for GSP should not be subject to the percentage limit from one country. All Indonesian lauan should be reclassified appropriately as eligible for duty-free treatment.
Congress allowed the entire GSP program to expire at the end of 2020. This is placing tremendous costs on American businesses who have already faced unimaginable burdens due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, all lauan is once again subject to a duty. For every month lauan is excluded from GSP, RV manufacturers pay over a million dollars in these duties. Congress must act to renew the GSP program as quickly as possible to avoid placing additional strain on businesses.
The RV Industry Association supports retroactive reauthorization of the GSP program and inclusion of all Indonesian lauan in the program as soon as possible.
United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
The United States is the world’s largest producer of RVs, producing twice as many RVs as the rest of the world combined. The RV industry has strong trade relations with Canada and Mexico and depends on a strong trilateral agreement.
Over 90 percent of all RV exports go to Canada, accounting for nearly 10 percent of all United States RV shipments. Nearly 40,000 American RVs were exported to Canada in 2019. Mexico is also a top recipient country for RV shipments, with 2 percent of shipments.
The RV Industry Association supports the USMCA and further harmonization of vehicle standards between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to reduce regulatory burdens and facilitate greater U.S. production and employment.