Push for Passage of Deferred Importation Legislation Heads FYBA’s Agenda for the American Boating Congress

The push for passage of legislation that would allow U.S. citizens to purchase foreign-flagged yachts while in U.S. waters without paying a costly import duty prior to the sale (also known as Deferred Importation) heads FYBA’s legislative agenda for the upcoming American Boating Congress (ABC), the recreational marine industry’s annual legislative and political gathering in Washington, D.C. 

FYBA is one of more than 30 companies and organizations sponsoring the event, which runs May 9-11. Cindy Sailor, FYBA executive director, and Jeff Erdmann, chairman of the association’s Legislative Affairs Committee, will be among the FYBA representatives attending ABC. 

ABC provides attendees the chance to join their recreational marine and yachting industry peers in information sessions and workshops, and meet one-on-one with their congressional representatives and educate them on issues that impact the industry and their businesses. It also provides attendees with an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships that can help the recreational boating industry grow and prosper. For more information, or to register please visit: www.nmma.org/government/abc.

Deferred Importation is just one of the marine industry legislative issues that will be discussed during ABC. However, for FYBA members and yacht brokers nationwide, it is a key issue. The Deferred Importation lobbying effort got a major boost last fall when Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL) submitted to Congress a bill – H.R. 4065 – that would amend the Tariff Act of 1930 and allow U.S. residents to defer paying duty on foreign-flagged yachts until the point of purchase. It was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means for review. Frankel held a press conference in March during the Palm Beach International Boat Show, where she continued to speak out in favor of Deferred Importation.

The bill now has seven co-sponsors – five Republicans and two Democrats. Erdmann said support for Deferred Importation is growing, given the positive impact passage of the law would have on the brokerage industry and the number of jobs it would create. 

“We feel fairly confident that the bill should pass in the current (114th) Congress,” Erdmann said. “Passage of Deferred Importation would be the most positive thing to hit the yachting industry legislatively since passage of the Florida sales tax cap. And the best thing is, it won’t cost the Federal Government a penny.

Removal of this outdated law would allow U.S residents to board and purchase foreign-flagged vessels while in U.S. waters without first paying an import duty; something currently only non-U.S. residents are permitted to do. Repeal of the law simply would defer payment of the duty until the boat is sold, just as other nations require of U.S.-flagged vessels sold while in their waters.

Studies show that implementation of Deferred Importation would generate thousands of industry-related jobs and encourage $2.46 billion in additional U.S. recreational marine sales and economic activity.