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AMA Fights Possible European Tariff

Friday, December 5, 2008
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) announced today that it has written to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative opposing a plan that could double the cost of some European motorcycles imported into the United States.

The plan being considered by U.S. trade officials would impose a 100 percent import duty on more than 100 European goods -- including two engine displacement categories of motorcycles, 51cc to 250cc, and 251cc to 500cc.

The federal measure is designed as retaliation to the 27-member European Union's continuing import ban on American beef treated with growth hormones. EU officials haven't lifted that 20-year-old ban, despite a World Trade Organization (WTO) order to end it.

If U.S. officials impose the retaliatory tariff, it would double the price of a host of under-500cc on- and off-highway machines from brands such as Aprilia, Beta, BMW, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husaberg, Husqvarna, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, Sherco, TM and Vespa.

"There is no logical link between European motorcycles and the dispute over beef," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, in his comments submitted to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. "Imposing these stiff tariffs on motorcycles would do nothing to resolve the trade dispute, but would punish American buyers of European motorcycles."

The AMA's comments make a strong argument that motorcycles have no business being used as a lever in a dispute over beef.

"Trade disputes residing concretely within the boundaries of the agricultural industry should not be resolved with trade sanctions levied against non-agricultural products," Moreland said. "A 100 percent ad valorem, or higher, tariff on these motorcycles will cause serious and potentially irreversible harm to American small- and medium-sized business owners selling the vehicles. Additionally, citizens will be denied access to certain models of competition and recreation motorcycles that contribute to the lifestyle and well-being of millions of American families."

The United States wants to impose $116.8 million in import duties to equal the amount of money it claims the U.S. beef industry loses each year because of the ban. The WTO has agreed on that amount.

Interested parties have until Dec. 8 to comment on which European goods should be subject to the 100 percent tariff in the dispute. It is unknown when U.S. officials will make a final decision.

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crashtester -bovine freedom  December 14, 2008 11:13 AM
Just a thought, but you could always stop pumping your cattle full of growth hormones.
Tim -True  December 10, 2008 08:57 AM
I was thinking street bikes only. If this also affects dirt then yes it will be bad for some. I think most people buy Japanese dirt toys, though. I'm an ATV guy myself when it comes to off-road so I won't be affected. I don't see myself buying a KTM ATV...
Chris -Re- who cares  December 8, 2008 10:02 AM
Tim...really??? your kidding me right?? Ever ride a dirtbike? Tons of people whould be affacted by this. I dont personally have a euro dirtbike, but I see plenty. This tax would not just hit scooter nerds! (and they need love too?)
Tim -Who cares?!  December 8, 2008 08:56 AM
51-500ccs...who cares? How many Americans will really be affected by this? "Real" scooters are still unaffected as they are 50ccs and under. The wanna-be motorcycles aka "super scooters" sales might be hurt, but I don't think most motorcyclists will be affected or disappointed. The EU isn't our friend and the sooner the government realizes that the better off we'll be. I'm glad they're at least retaliating.
JohnP -AMA and European Tariff  December 7, 2008 04:54 AM
In these strange days perhaps we should consider why so called allies in so many things resort to these kind of things. A tariff on motorcycles because of a food issue ? Hollywood couldn't write the script. However, as a Brit I look forward to the "Change" that has been much repeated in recent months.
1bigdawg -Outrageous  December 6, 2008 08:37 AM
This is outrageous a "retaliation" by our government against the EU. There are so many other options some of which thewall referrred to. I don't know what the other 98 goods are, but putting a tariff on these size displacement motorcycles directly hits the scooter marker. As far as I know there are NO American scooter mfg companies in the US so this will not affect any mfg in the US, so who does it hurt the consumer. People buy scotters and small displacement motorcycles because they are cost effective and get great MPG. No matter what the tariff or ban is for what ever country it is the consumer who pays for it, not the governments of those countries. Hopefully whom ever Obama nominates as his new US Trade representative will have some common sense and work for a compromise. In closing, we do not condone the use of drugs in sports why would we condone the use of drugs in our foods just so they can make bigger profits and provide inferior products.
thewall -Tariffs!  December 6, 2008 07:46 AM
Imagine that, governments not getting along and bickering with each other and we the people suffer for it. How about the EU import at least some US Beef and label it "hormone produced" so their consumers have the option themselves weather they want to purchase it. Maybe the US cattle industry should consider producing a higher percentage of beef without hormone enhancement for sale to the EU? No, that would be compromise and working with the good of the consumer in all countries in mind. Instead they will just ban this double the price of that and we can suffer for it.