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RECREATIONAL BOATING INDUSTRY FAVORS NAFTA

 CHICAGO, Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- One of only a few U.S. manufacturing industries with a favorable balance of trade, the American boating industry has come out in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Support for the initiative was registered by members of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) during its National Conference held in Scottsdale, Ariz., Nov. 3-7. NMMA represents approximately 1,600 boating product manufacturers who account for 95 percent of domestic boat production.
 "We see NAFTA as a jobs and opportunity issue," said NMMA President Jeff Napier. "If the 20 percent Mexican tariff on our products was eliminated we could be selling $75 million to $100 million worth of products annually in Mexico within five years, compared with current sales of $10 million per year. That increase would support creation of about 5,000 additional jobs here, mostly in manufacturing," he said. (Tariffs between the U.S. and Canada were largely phased-out under a free trade agreement negotiated between these trading partners in the mid-1980s.)
 According to a recent survey of NMMA members, 75 percent are active exporters with some selling as much as 25 to 50 percent of their production outside the U.S. In 1992, the boating industry exported $900 million worth of marine products, $400 million more than was imported, according to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics. Domestic recreational boating sales were estimated at $10.3 billion for 1992.
 An NMMA trade delegation which traveled to Mexico City last summer sought Mexican businesspeople to become dealers and distributors for U.S. boating products. "They were highly interested in the opportunity, but said the 20 percent Mexican tariff made our products cost- prohibitive even among a growing middle class in the country," explained Napier. "The irony is that is no Mexican industry to protect with the tariff and it fails to generate revenue or jobs since few boats are sold. We want to turn this lose-lose situation into a win-win," he concluded.
 -0- 11/9/93
 /CONTACT: Mary Mann of National Marine Manufacturers Association, 202-944-4980/


CO: National Marine Manufacturers Association ST: IN: LEI SU: LEG

WB -- NY084 -- 2286 11/09/93 13:22 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 9, 1993
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