The push for passage of a Deferred Importation bill renewed this year with the inauguration of a new President and a new Congress. IYBA is the major supporter of the legislation, which would allow U.S. citizens to purchase pre-owned foreign-flagged and or built yachts while in U.S. waters at the time of sale without paying a costly import duty at the time of offering it for sale.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL) submitted a Deferred Importation bill – H.R. 4065 – to the last Congress, where it had strong support from numerous members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, but time ran out before it could be passed. As this issue of Compass went to press, she was expected to reintroduce the Deferred Importation bill. As with the previous measure, the new Frankel bill would amend the Tariff Act of 1930 and allow U.S. residents to defer paying duty on foreign-flagged yachts until the time of sale.

Staley Weidman of The Catamaran Company, the new chairman of IYBA’s Public Affairs Committee, said Deferred Importation is the Committee’s main agenda item for the annual American Boating Congress (ABC) political and legislative event, coming up on May 15-17 in Washington, D.C.

“It is our primary focus for the year,” said Weidman. “The issue has broad-reaching support with the Trump administration with tax reform, jobs, and trade, which is very positive.”

Weidman predicted that the new Frankel bill would be cosponsored by Ted Yoho (R-FL), and would be added to a trade bill which will be voted on by Congress. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is expected to submit a companion bill before the Senate.

“That Senate form of the bill will be slightly different,” Weidman said. “Our objective is, whichever approach makes headway first, then that’s the direction we’ll be going with the bill, whether it is through the Senate or through Congress.”

The new bill will include an important wording change, according to Weidman. “Before it was tied to foreign-flagged vessels that are in the U.S. with a cruising permit,” he said. “This time we are changing the wording so that is for foreign-flagged and foreign-built vessels that have lawfully entered into the U.S. where they can be offered for sale to U.S. citizens while they’re here. And the duty, instead of being paid at the time they are offered, would be paid at the time they are sold.”

IYBA studies shows that an owner of a foreign-flagged vessel spends roughly 13 percent of a boat’s value in the U.S. annually, which naturally, helps create jobs and generates additional tax revenue.

One concern is the Trump administration’s focus on protecting U.S. trade. However, the bill’s supporters are quick to point out that the measure won’t inhibit, but instead actually could help U.S. yacht manufacturers drive more sales. “One of the things that we underscore in the bill is that it applies only to pre-owned yachts,” Weidman said. “So, it’s not taking away from any [U.S.] manufacturing.”

He added that many U.S. yacht builders support the measure so that foreign clients who have purchased their boats can bring them back into the U.S. and sell them to U.S. buyers, and of course purchase their next new yacht.

Join IYBA at ABC

The American Boating Congress, organized annually by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, gives attendees the chance to join their recreational marine and yachting industry peers in information sessions and workshops, as well as to meet one-on-one with your Senate and Congressional representatives and educate them on issues that impact the recreational boating industry and your business.

ABC 2017 will take place primarily at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel, located at 999 Ninth Street, NW. The jam-packed schedule below includes workshops on many issues pertinent to your business, networking events and other highlights.

• Welcome Reception, May 15 from 6:00–8:00p.m. at the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon. This prime networking opportunity in an historic location kicks off the ABC conference.

 “Inside the Beltway—Republican and Democratic Insights,” a new special session on May 16 from 8:30–9:00a.m. Changes at the White House and the new 115th Congress provide the boating industry a unique opportunity to educate decision-makers on our top

priorities. How will recreational and boating interests be viewed in the new Congress and under a Trump administration? The “Inside the Beltway” panel will provide perspectives from both Republican and Democratic strategists on the current political climate, an outlook for 2017, and how the upcoming midterm elections could impact policy decisions on Capitol Hill.

• Issue Workshops. These run concurrently on the morning of May 16 during four half-hour blocks. Please check the website at www. for the times of the workshops that interest you.

Business Track

Tax Policy: the impact of reform on your business and customers. Panelists will dissect the current legislative proposals impacting corporate and individual tax rates, deductions, and proposed payfors. Learn about the Border Adjustability Tax (BAT) and how it could impact the U.S. import/export market. Tax policy experts will be on hand to give a 2017 outlook on reform and specific opportunities for the boating community to engage policy makers.

Infrastructure: improving access across the nation’s lands and waterways with a 21st century infrastructure system. Much of our nation is facing an Eisenhower-era infrastructure system that cannot meet the demands of the 21st century. President Trump has promised a $1 trillion infrastructure package to update our crumbling system, address maintenance backlogs, and provide job growth. Learn about infrastructure improvements that could benefit boating and make sure our waterways and public lands are included in infrastructure legislation.

Trade: the future of U.S. trade agreements, the EU and North American Free Trade Agreement. President Trump has signaled a change in U.S. trade policy, with one of his first actions to withdraw the U.S. from the multilateral Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). What trade policy could be impacted next? Hear from industry experts on the outlook of U.S. trade policy and how the boating industry will be impacted.

Environment and Access Track Access and Conservation: a case study for the Everglades’ restoration. Water quality is essential to recreational boating access and the use and enjoyment of boating industry products. The current situation in the South Florida Everglades is putting the environment at risk, impacting local economies, and shutting out boaters to our some of our nation’s most popular boating and fishing destinations. Learn potential solutions and what the federal government can do to support state efforts.

Boating Safety: keeping our boaters and waterways safe – 2017 boating safety priorities. Congress will tackle the 2017 Coast Guard authorization, providing the recreational boating community an opportunity to move forward important safety initiatives involving engine-cut off devices, flares, and on-water training. Learn how you can advocate for boating safety.

Recreational Fishing: modernizing recreational fishing saltwater policy and recruiting the next generation of anglers. 46 million lcensed anglers take to U.S. waters each year, generating $45 billion in retail sales and a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy. Learn about efforts to attract and retain the next generation of anglers and sustain this economic driver for decades to come. Also hear from angling experts on the latest legislative initiatives and how boating partners can help sustain our intertwined boating and angling consumers and economies.

Workforce and Compliance Track Workforce Development: attracting and retaining talent and the role of government in supporting company growth. The recreational boating industry is facing a shortage of qualified and dedicated individuals to design, build and manufacture products and repair and replace technical and component parts. What can the marine industry do to better attract and retain talent? Does the federal government have a role to play?

Fuel Policy: the future of ethanol and reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Will 2017 be the year Congress finally fixes the broken RFS? Learn about the prospects of ethanol reform and why it’s more important than ever for the boating industry to be vocal in calling for it.

Environment, Health and Safety Compliance: national and international marine manufacturing regulations. Boat manufacturers need to be up to speed on the regulations and requirements coming in the U.S. for floatation and structural foam, residual risk review and in California for evaporative emissions. In the European Union (EU), the biocide directive caused a flurry of activity as boat builders who sell into the EU have to reevaluate the biocide additives being used in a wide range of products and materials. Attend this session to receive the latest updates

• Networking Lunch & Hill Strategy Discussion, May 16 from 11:30a.m. to 1p.m. Get ready for an afternoon of visits with Senate and Congressional leaders that can help to implement legislation, like the Deferred Importation Bill, that can benefit your business.

• Customized Hill visits, May 16 from 1:30p.m. to 5:30p.m. This year, Capitol Hill visits will be organized by state delegation—enabling attendees to be more effective advocates on the Hill. By working together with different peers from your state, you will be able to have more meetings with lawmakers and showcase the depth and diversity within the boating industry.

• Recreational Angling & Boating PAC Reception, May 16 from 6:00–8:00p.m. This reception, held on a rooftop overlooking the Capitol, is limited to NMMA and MRRA members. For information on how to attend, please contact Erica Crocker at

• Jake Tapper Keynote Speech, May 17. Tapper is Chief CNN Washington Correspondent and Anchor. He has been recognized for being a fair and balanced commentator and critic whose unbiased reporting makes him an “equal opportunity skeptic—confronting Democratic politicians just as toughly as he would Republican ones.” (Please check the final ABC schedule for the time of his speech.)

• National Safe Boating Council and National Marine Manufacturers Association Congressional Reception, May 17 from 5:00–7:00p.m.

For more information about ABC 2017, or to register, please visit:

Article Author: Gary Beckett