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Bill might allow easier sale of foreign-flagged yachts in US

The current anomaly in US law that insists on Americans having to pay import duty prior to buying a foreign-flagged yacht will be addressed in the US Congress next month.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel plans to introduce legislation allowing US citizens to purchase and pay for their yacht before import duty is levied. Under the current 107 year-old legislation, it is illegal for a broker even to show a yacht for sale to a prospective US buyer while in US waters before import duty is paid.

Congresswoman Frankel says: “The interest in the marine industry is huge and it is a giant driver for South Florida. We are going to talk about taking a superyacht industry and putting it on steroids.”

The Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) has been pressing for action on this front for some time, arguing that it is potentially harmful for possible sales. FYBA Executive Director Cindy Sailor comments: “We are thrilled that Congresswoman Frankel recognizes the efforts of FYBA and scores of other marine industry businesses and organizations to repeal this out dated law that the US sales revenue, tax dollars and jobs.”

Currently owners have to import and pay duty on a boat in order to offer it for sale, then export it to apply for duty drawback to receive a refund of the customs duty paid. This does seem, to even the most disinterested observer, an extremely complex procedure.

In fact, FYBA estimates that the current policy is discouraging about $2.46 billion in U.S. economic activity that could be generating thousands of well-paying American jobs.

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