New EU Tariffs Could Hurt U.S. Amusement Industry


Firing the latest salvo in a long-standing trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union, the EU announced last week that as of Nov. 10 it would impose tariffs on up to $4 billion worth of U.S. imports. Among the long list of products impacted by 25% tariffs are the amusement industry’s games, pinball machines and other equipment and parts.

“Virtually anything our industry produces in the U.S. that’s heading to the EU is subject to these tariffs,” said AAMA Executive Director Pete Gustafson, who recently engaged with Gary Stern, Stern Pinball’s lead attorney Mike Hartigan, Joe Camarota, John Russell, Mike Zolandz and Cody Wood – other interested parties in reversing the tariff. (Read the full text here; the code that applies to our industry is 9504301000.) In addition to the tariffs, Stern noted that most countries also have a 20% VAT (value-added tax) that, if fully passed along with the tariff, could result in 30% higher prices. 

US EU Trade Conflict imageThe EU’s retaliatory move was given the go-ahead by the World Trade Organization last month and stems from a 16-year U.S./EU dispute related to civil aircraft giant Boeing, American subsidies it received, and the company’s French-headquartered competitor, Airbus. Last year, the U.S. put tariffs on over $7 billion in EU goods. Said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, “…we had no choice but to respond to this sanction… This was the normal scenario.”

“Normal” or not, the tariffs could deal a crushing blow to the amusement industry’s exports to the European Union.

AAMA is organizing a response and with the help of Dentons will be advocating on behalf of the industry in Washington, D.C. Gustafson said they are planning a call between the association, Dentons and the manufacturing community next week to give members a primer on how to express the urgency of the matter with their Congressmen and Senators. 

“It’s one thing to hear from us in D.C.,” said Gustafson, “but it means a whole lot more to hear directly from business owners, employers and constituents in the home district. We need this collateral damage to the amusement industry addressed quickly.” 

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