IYBA’s priority legislation may be attached to President Trump’s tax reform package on the Hill.

Officials with U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) say they support removing the Deferred Importation duty on foreign-flagged yachts offered for sale in U.S. waters, according to IYBA Public Affairs Committee Chairman, Staley Weidman. 

“Out of the menu of options we discussed and I presented to them, they felt the best option is to eliminate the duty altogether,” Weidman said. “The juice just isn’t worth the squeeze for CBP, in that the revenue generated from the tariff isn’t enough to justify the cost of enforcement. They told me CBP will not oppose a tariff exemption in that case.”

On August 18th, U.S. Congressman, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL 18th District) introduced the Maritime Industries Relief Act of 2017, which has been assigned the bill number H.R.3662. The Act supports IYBA’s Deferred Importation initiative to reform the outdated Tariff Act of 1930, either by repealing it or deferring payment of the duty by the seller until the yacht is sold. Rep. Mast’s measure, which will be attached to the tax reform bill being debated in Congress, calls for the complete elimination of duty on pre-owned dutiable foreign-flagged boats offered for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters.

“We will continue coordinating on Capitol Hill and gathering co-sponsors, and we will talk with Ways and Means soon,” Weidman said. “Meanwhile, the stronger our coalition is when the tax reform package reaches the Floor, the better our odds of getting H.R.3662 attached.” 

The effort to repeal or defer the importation duty on foreign-flagged boats has gained support since May, when Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL 22nd District) sponsored H.R. 2369, a re-submission of a bill she sponsored in the last Congress. Mast’s legislative efforts have helped to increase support in Congress by providing legislators with several options to allow U.S. citizens to purchase foreign-flagged yachts without requiring sellers to pay the duty before they can even set foot on board. |

“We believe this multi-pronged approach will give Congress several choices to consider for adopting this important legislation that ultimately will allow foreign-flagged and -built, pre-owned yachts to freely market and sell to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters,” Weidman said. “Ultimately, passage of any of these bills means those vessels will rely on service and support in U.S. ports by U.S.-based companies and workers. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Article Author: Gary Beckett, Turnkey Communications & PR, Inc.