President Donald Trump expected hostility from foreign companies to his tariffs. But what is probably a surprise for him is the resistance from domestic manufacturers. More and more American companies are speaking up, including those based in heartland states like Wisconsin.
“Rob Parmentier has weathered some rough times in the boat building business, but the trade wars with China, Europe, Canada and Mexico have shaken him to the core.
‘It’s been catastrophic,’ said Parmentier, president and CEO of Marquis-Larson Boat Group, which builds Carver yachts in Pulaski, Wisconsin.
The first “hand grenade,” as Parmentier described it, was a 25 percent tariff the European Union placed this year on boats built in the U.S., along with scores of other products including Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Then there was a 10 percent tariff slapped on boats shipped to Canada, along with price increases up to 40 percent on boat building materials.
It’s sent a shock wave through U.S. boat manufacturers.
‘We’ve had a lot of order cancellations. Canada and Europe have essentially stopped buying boats,’ Parmentier said.
About 450 people work at the company, a large employer in a town of 3,600 residents.
If boat orders continue to slide because of the trade wars, Parmentier said, it will trigger layoffs that could last a long time.
‘We’ve been absorbing some of the additional costs … hoping the tariffs will go away. But we can only do that for so long,’ he said.”
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