Steel and Aluminum Tariffs
The scope of the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs that have been enacted is far too broad to have the intended effect of curbing abuses by certain countries and will only create new challenges for American businesses to the benefit of foreign competitors. Steel and aluminum tariffs negatively impact RV production in the U.S. in several ways:
- The tariffs will 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 RVIA 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 opposes increased steel and aluminum tariffs which increase the cost to manufacture RVs and their components.
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
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. Over 53,000 American RVs were exported to Canada in 2017. Mexico is also a top recipient country for RV shipments, with 2 percent of shipments.
The RV Industry Association supports a modernized NAFTA that further harmonizes vehicle standards between the U.S., Canada and Mexico to reduce regulatory burdens and facilitate greater U.S. production and employment.
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) provides duty-free treatment to selected goods imported from more than 130 developing countries which boosts the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and lowers the cost of consumer goods for American families. The RV industry is impacted by GSP through lauan, a type of strong, flexible wood panel, that is used in nearly every RV. 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.
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. Indonesian lauan should be reclassified appropriately as eligible for duty-free treatment. For every month lauan is excluded from GSP, RV manufacturers pay over a million dollars in duties.
The RV Industry Association supports the inclusion of Indonesian lauan in the Generalized System of Preferences through a change in designation which applies to products that do not have a similar domestic product.