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U.S. Beef Lobby Wants 100% Tax on European Motorcycles Under 500cc … Seriously

The EU doesn’t like U.S. beef, particularly beef treated with certain hormones. What does this have to do with motorcycles? At the moment, plenty.

As a result of an EU ban on importation of most U.S. bred beef, the beef lobby is petitioning the Office of United States Trade Representatives to retaliate by placing stiff tariffs on a list of European products. This list includes motorcycles (and mopeds) displacing 500cc and under. As a consequence, the KTM Duke 390 pictured above could cost roughly $20,000 in the United States. Ridiculous? Outrageous? Both. Please use the link in the AMA press release below to protest this absurdity. Here is the full press release:

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association strongly objects to a federal agency’s attempt to tack a 100 percent or higher tariff on motorcycles made in Europe as part of a trade battle over hormones in U.S. beef.

The Office of United States Trade Representative requested comments on Dec. 28 regarding its proposal to include tariffs on motorcycles with an engine size between 51cc and 500cc imported from the European Union.

The American Motorcyclist Association opposes the proposed tariff, because trade disputes residing within the boundaries of the agricultural industry should not be solved with trade sanctions levied against non-agricultural products.

“There is no logical link between motorcycles and beef,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president of government relations. “It is absurd to even consider such a move.

“We urge all concerned citizens to make their views known on this issue before the Jan. 30 deadline by using the AMA tools at http://tinyurl.com/h62kpc5.”

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade, commodity and direct investment policy and overseeing negotiations with other countries. The head of USTR is the U.S. Trade Representative, a Cabinet member who serves as the president’s principal trade adviser, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues.

If the agency enacts this motorcycle tariff, serious and potentially irreversible harm will be done to American small- and medium-sized business owners selling the vehicles and to American families who buy these motorcycles for commuting and outdoor recreation.

“Should the availability of motorcycles be hindered by these unjustified trade sanctions, dealerships may close, leaving countless Americans without jobs,” Allard said. “The negative effects of the proposed sanctions will not only harm the motorcycle sales industry, but will spread through the aftermarket equipment sector, recreation equipment sales, the sports entertainment industry and further down the line.”

Affected manufacturers include Aprilla, Beta. BMW, Ducati, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husqvarna, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, Sherco, TM and Vespa.

The same agency tried the same tactic in 2008, but the effort was thwarted when the AMA, the Motorcycle Industry Council and bike manufacturers and retailers rallied motorcyclists against the plan. At that time, the U.S. Trade Representative instead raised the tariff on a variety of European food products.

69 Comments

  1. mickey says:

    I expect to come to Motorcycle Daily to discuss (argue even)about motorcycles, their appeal, design, weight, performance, features, price, mechanics and missions. I don’t come here to discuss politics. There is enough of that on every news channel you turn on, every day. If Motorcycle Daily is turning into politics daily, I don’t expect to be spending as much time here. Shame, it was really a nice site for a motorcycle nut like me.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      I will edit out political commentary. See my comment below. This discussion doesn’t belong here.

  2. Stuki says:

    Doubt this is Trump’s doing. But if he really does support what essentially amounts to kick ktm out of America, he should at least be forced to color his hair in a different color than orange going forward

  3. Artem says:

    If you prepare bouillon from a chicken that run hour ago
    and from a supermarket chicken, then KTM Duke 390 is home growth chicken.

  4. Kent says:

    I guess I won’t be eating any beef. It’s not good for you anyway, is inefficient to produce, costs a lot, is hard to keep and who knows what all those hormones and GMO’s they feed them do to us.

  5. David M says:

    Retaliatory tariffs are nothing new. In 2015 the U.S. lost a WTO ruling with Canada and Mexico over it Country of Origin Labeling for beef and other meat products. Canada and Mexico received an authorization from the WTO to charge $1 billion of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. Putting the tariffs on unrelated products is part of the strategy in order to bring more people to complain to their government to comply with a ruling because they were sideswiped by someone else’s battle.

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/12/wto-authorizes-1-billion-in-retaliatory-tariffs-against-cool/

  6. Marshall says:

    Pushing hormone laced, antibiotic rich, corn fed beef on Europeans is as disgusting as it is disrespectful to both cows and humans. US feedlot and slaughter house owners should be ashamed of pushing this sh*t on anyone.

    I signed the AMA petition and I suggest you do too.

  7. Bryana says:

    I went to the gov page and added a comment. I suggest you all do the same and stop griping like 9 year olds. The comment period is closed on January 30th.

    I suggest you read all of the information and make an informed and proof read (edited) submittal. Flippant comments will be of little value.

    https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=USTR-2016-0025-0001

  8. Dirck Edge says:

    Regarding political comments – I have been allowing some of late due to the nature of the articles (this one is an example), but they are generally inappropriate. We will have a forum soon with an “off topic” category where you can discuss anything you want (within reason).

    • Tim says:

      Thanks, Dirck. I was caught up in one of those recently, despite trying to be as politically neutral as possible. After two or three back and forths on the issue, it was pretty clear we were both in the same basic camp, at least in terms of how the issue related to motorcycles.

      I get enough political posts on Facebook. I’m fully behind you as far as keeping politics off of this site as much as possible. I believe you’ve done a good job of moderating here.

  9. alfonso bedoya says:

    Trump had nothing to do with the EU’s unilateral decision by the beef industry to place a tax on European motorcycles, so why the posts that blame him? Seems to me that if the beefers want to sell their product overseas, they should improve their meat products so as to meet the standards expected by the Europeans. To punish a completely different industry in the manner described in the article is economic lunacy.

  10. Grover says:

    European bikes under 500cc? No reason to get excited until they up the bill to include EU bikes over 500cc (can’t think of any desirable bike made in Europe under 500cc.) Also, it seems that the vast majority of Americans ride Harleys or Japanese bikes so this issue is only one more reason for people to complain about something. Let’s not get too excited about this issue until your in the market for a scooter, moped or the one 300cc bike that BMW sells.

    • GKS says:

      Obviously you don’t ride off-road. That is the market segment which would be hurt the most. It is likely that if the tariff were enacted, that several of these manufacturers would simply stop doing business in the USA.

    • jimmihaffa says:

      Could be a political sacrifice of the proverbial “pawn”in the chess game to see the opponents next move. A tariff on large displacement (read Harley Davidson products) motorcycles sold in Europe would severely injure the struggling Motor Company. Perhaps in the interest of not sparking a tit-for-tat approach, the U.S. has tread carefully around the potential of damaging a marquee brand with big lobby influence.

    • Dave says:

      Re:”can’t think of any desirable bike made in Europe under 500cc”

      Plenty will miss Aprilia, Piaggio and Vespa scooters, all of which fall under this.

  11. slipjoint says:

    Their motorcycles are priced like they have tarriffs on them now, they break regularly and parts take forever and are expensive. Keep the line open to Japan and they can have the EU overpriced underengineered junk. The only bikes they sell over here are to motorcycle snobs that seek the exclusive name. They haven’t produced a good price to performance product over there since the VW bug.

  12. allworld says:

    If the US Beef Lobby pushes for this, I will do all I can to bring them down.

    • Stuki says:

      Pushing for your own self interest is perfectly natural

      Any government in a position to act on such pushing, is too powerful. That’s where the problem lies.

  13. MGNorge says:

    So much for keeping politics out of MD!

  14. Brian says:

    I enjoy reading the comments here, I would love to see more comments on the GOV site. It is open for comment, log on and make your self heard….and all the whos shouted, We are here, We are here, We are here…

  15. Fastship says:

    Last summer Barry Obama came over here and stood “shoulder to shoulder” with our erstwhile PM D. Cameron and told us in no uncertain terms that if we dared to vote to leave the European Union the UK would go the the back of the queue in any UK/US trade deal.

    Well, we voted out and now both those characters are history but until I know different, US products of any sort are at the back of my queue to purchase if at all. And that includes dodgy beef. From the country that gave the world mad cow disease :¬).

  16. Fred says:

    I have googled US Beef hormones, and near the top was a page from the US “The Huffington Post”.
    After reading what you poor Americans are fed in the name of boosted profitability of farm product.
    I was frankly astounded.
    GM corn & wheat for fodder, Arsenic in Chickens, growth hormones in Dairy Cows for more milk and all on the list of 11 banned items in the ECC, but being fed to you Guy’s daily in your food.

    I hope your new President DJT puts up his tariff walls quickly to save the rest of the Third World from these exports and you lot support the cleaning up of your own food standards.

    read it here :http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-daily-meal/these-american-meat-produ_b_5153275.html

    • tuskerdu says:

      Your first mistake is reading the Huffington Post.

      • Tim says:

        You beat me to the comment (word for word, I might add) tuskerdu.

        Thanks to global over-population, the unfortunate reality is, if not for genetic modification of crops, a lot more people would likely be starving in this world (or already dead of starvation). It’s the only way food producers have been able to remotely keep up with population growth.

        As far as the proposed tariff, that’s complete crap. It was bad enough when they did it to protect Harley Davidson (back when Harley really did probably need it), but to tie bikes to beef is just crazy.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “After reading what you poor Americans are fed in the name of boosted profitability of farm product.”

      It’s in the name of profit, but also in the name of production. That the EU is in trade for enough beef to raise this discussion shows that they can’t produce enough themselves.

      To all of the Trump commenters. Read up on this issue, it dates way farther back than the election.

  17. NRHRetro says:

    I will and do eat our beef with great pride, in fact, I would not eat beef from the E.U., after all, didn’t they give us “Mad Cow Disease”?

    I work in the meat industry, have been for the last 33 years. I won’t go into a long diatribe about how our beef is raised, other than to say that contrary to what you hear, U.S.D.A. graded beef is absolutely safe, it is not “pumped up” with steroids. Animals that have been treated with antibiotics must be clear of them before processing, the hormones used these days are testosterone and estrogen. These hormones are also produced by the animal’s body, once they are at a certain level, the body stops producing them, the result in the end is that the levels of these administered hormones stay at natural levels. Whether you take my word for it or not, I don’t really care, but if you stop listening to the “tree huggers”, and research the subject for yourself, you will see that the industry is not the cesspool that certain people want you to think that it is.

    Whether or not you like the beef isn’t the point, the point is that the E.U.’s current policy regarding U.S. Beef is causing trade problems between the U.S. and the E.U.. To say that there is “no logical link between our beef and their motorcycles” is complete ignorance. Yes they are different products from different industries, but they do have a common link, they are TRADED GOODS! The beef industry in this country is far larger than the market for European Motorcycles in this country, and it is far more important! The beef industry employs far more Americans than do the European motorcycle companies. There is no comparison between them. Both from an Economic perspective, and a moral perspective, the European Motorcycle companies are simply insignificant.

    They are saying that they won’t buy our products, yet they want to sell us theirs. While I do agree that the proposed tariffs on sub-500cc motorcycles don’t make a lot of sense, it shouldn’t matter, in fact, it shouldn’t be necessary to levy these tariffs. As an American, I don’t need any incentive to boycott their products, I simply will not consider a European motorcycle until the situation is corrected, by the E.U.. It is sad that We, as Americans, never really seem to stand together for anything anymore.

    • Matt says:

      Calling you out on the meat industry. Nice 33 in there

    • SausageCreature says:

      “Animals that have been treated with antibiotics must be clear of them before processing,”

      The presence of antibiotics in animal products at the time of processing may or may not be an issue. However, the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria due to the short-sighted overuse of antibiotics in our livestock IS DEFINITELY an issue. It’s a HUGE problem that’s only getting worse.

    • Vrooom says:

      It would seem the issue is that Europe simply doesn’t want most American beef. We have a choice, if we want to sell beef in Europe we can change the way it’s raised and reduce hormones and antibiotics, or we can be happy selling to the other countries that buy our beef products. If Americans didn’t want European motorcycles or other products they wouldn’t buy them, or if they didn’t meet our safety standards they wouldn’t be sold. JMHO

      • jimmihaffa says:

        That is my impression as well. I would also infer that the U.S. has been dumping lower cost beef products that in the eyes of European legislators are preventing competition from E.U. sourced meats which probably have higher regulatory standards to meet and are losing in the marketplace. To your point on hormones and antibiotic overuse, the general pulse in your Europe is of greater legislative control over methods used to increase productivity and lower cost that may have long-term adverse repercussions for the health of the population.

    • DeltaZulu says:

      NRHRetro – Well stated and intelligent post. Thank you.

    • Jason says:

      I only buy local, hormone free, and grass-fed beef. Yes, it costs more but I’m not responsible for cows that spend their lives in a feedlot forced to wallow in their own manure. Those places are disgusting.

    • Tom R says:

      I’ll have a plate of antibiotics with a side of hormones please. And make it medium rare.

  18. Provologna says:

    I can only surmise whoever suggested this idea presumed the disaffected demographic has so little political clout that the beef industry could get away with it.

    What quantity of bikes/buyers are we talking about? <3k? I suppose the US DOT knows the exact numbers imported for sale. Anyone have access?

  19. Orphan of the Road says:

    The US of A beef producers are not one big happy family. The move (as in hogs and chickens) is to eliminate the independent producers. And forcing those independents to pay for their own demise through the check-off system.

    If you contact your representatives in DC also consider asking why the government mandates a tax going to a private corporation.

    http://www.hcn.org/issues/235/13403

  20. Erik says:

    The big beef industry should not be trying to slap a 100% tariff on a non-related motorcycle industry. Why should I have to pay more for my Beta dirt bike made in Italy because the big USA beef industry’s stupidity and greed to pump growth hormones in their beef. I only buy from small beef ranchers that do not use growth hormones and are grass fed and I eat organic chicken.If this 100% tariff passes we will be stuck with inferior offroad dirt bikes and endurocross motorcycles, all the top 3 motorcycles in the main event in endurocross are made in Europe, Husqvarna, KTM and Beta, Gas Gas. We will also be stuck with hormone laden beef. The beef industry needs to clean up their act not tariff motorcycle riders and dealers.

  21. Tim C says:

    “This is bullshit and hurts American consumers and the economy as a whole.”

    YUP. Trump’s protectionist bits are probably the most worrisome, by a long shot. He can really screw a lot of stuff up.

  22. kyle says:

    The only Harley I ever liked was the Vrod with the German engineered motor. Just sayin!

    And I’m vegetarian. I should be exempt.

  23. EZ Mark says:

    Since our beef is all pumped full of steroids and growth hormones, shouldn’t the motorcycle tax be on the high horsepower, big bore bikes?

  24. Topperrx says:

    Maybe the beef industry should eat their words by re-releasing propaganda bumper stickers that read “The West wasn’t won on tariffs.”

  25. stack says:

    can someone explain how a 100% tax would make a KTM 390 $20,000.00?

  26. Tank says:

    I knew import tariffs were going to be a problem, but this is stupid. I think now would be a good time for Polaris to consider making smaller bikes. This import tariff BS isn’t going to go away for a while. I just hope the Japanese don’t piss anybody off or we’re screwed.

  27. John says:

    The only company this would even touch is KTM.

  28. proheli says:

    Nothing shows the insanity of the Government official like this choice to punish a completely unrelated market segment in an effort to force another entirely unrelated group of people to pay more money for something they actually don’t want in the first place. IF there was ever ANY doubt, the Government is not on the individuals side. Not in the least.

    • Johnny ro says:

      So sorry but it is the beef lobby asking the US government to do it. The beef lobby is the culprit as of now.

      The government has not said yes or no according to the article. They are asking for views before deciding yes, not or to do something else.

      Follow the link in the article.

  29. dt 175 says:

    Somebody scored zero on the Wonderlic test…

  30. Don says:

    So much for the resurgence of the rider base with all the new entry level offerings if this goes through.

    • Grover says:

      There are plenty of choices for new riders without going European. Most newbies will not even consider an overpriced, finicky European bike as an entry machine. Plenty of great bikes available from the Japanese.

  31. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Bikes manufactured in Europe, or motorcycle manufacturers based in Europe?

    • xLaYN says:

      Nice, that duke is actually made on India.
      Look at it on the other hand, this could lead to Japanese bikes being able to compete on price with European counterparts…. under 500cc.
      Also could mean that you could get the duke 501 for a very similar price.

  32. TF says:

    Eat more chicken!

  33. Lonerider says:

    Am i glad to be Canadian? You bet!

    • marloweluke says:

      +1 or the US could clean up their beef industry…. But let’s not go there. Oops, I just did.

      • Ben says:

        I’m with you on that one. Can’t really blame someone for not wanting to eat your product.

        • Tom K. says:

          Can’t agree with you there, Ben. If it were simply a matter of European consumers not wanting to eat American beef, there would be no need for the tarriff.

          I sent Ross Perot a hundred bucks in 1992 solely based on his trade stance of “Your rules are our rules”. In the big picture, allowing a country to tarriff our products with no reciprocity is asking for trouble, trade is only good for a country if it is “balanced”. “You upset the balance with tarriffs, and we’ll respond in kind” seems fair to me. Although, I do agree it would make more sense to keep it within market segments – maybe we don’t import enough Ag products from Europe to make an impact? Right off the top of my head, there is Norwegian sardines, French champagne, Swiss chocolate, and Turkish Taffy (yes, I jest). The EU is playing Nanny again, as only Europeans can – aren’t they in meetings currently, planning to bestow “personhood” rights for AI machines? Lovely – “Soon you’ll be charged with mecha-sexual harrassment for torquing nuts too tightly” (kudos to a guy I work with, I can’t help but borrow that one).

          • Vrooom says:

            Per the article it’s an importation ban on the part of the Europeans for much of our beef not meeting certain standards, not a tariff?