Forty-four percent of marine dealers point to tariffs and trade as their largest legislative priorities for 2019, according to a new survey, beating out issues including E15 — notably the highest priority among manufacturers, a separate survey shows.

Dealers responding to the Pulse Report, administered by Baird Research in conjunction with the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Soundings Trade Only, rate tariffs above workforce development, invasive aquatic species, E15, fishing access and infrastructure.

“Customer commitment is the challenge,” writes one dealer. “Really cold weather, the government shutdown, trade talks, and just a general feeling of the unknown seem to be impacting decision making.”

Another references “two to three price increases in a year, out-pricing the consumer.” Several manufacturers reported off-cycle price increases to help absorb higher costs due to the tariffs.

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