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U.S. Still Favors 100% Tariff on Small-Displacement European Motorcycles to Prop Up U.S. Beef

The American Motorcyclist Association has just released a press release addressing the proposed U.S. 100% tariff on European motorcycles displacing 500 cc or less. In short, the U.S. trade representative is still proposing such a tariff in an effort to force European Union countries to ease restrictions on their import of U.S. beef. Here is the full press release from the AMA:

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a congressional committee Thursday that he is “sympathetic” to American motorcyclists, dealerships and others, but he cannot remove small-displacement European motorcycles from a proposed import tariff while negotiations continue in a dispute with the European Union over U.S. beef imports.

“While we appreciate Ambassador Lighthizer’s sympathy, we need action, not sympathy,” said Rob Dingman, president and CEO of the American Motorcyclist Association. “He has chosen the U.S. beef industry over American motorcyclists and Americans who own and operate motorcycle dealerships.”

At issue is a proposed 100 percent tariff on 51cc to 500cc motorcycles imported to the United States from manufacturers in the European Union. The bikes are included in a long list of products that would be the subject of tariffs as part of the long-running dispute over U.S. beef imports.

A member of Lighthizer’s staff stated publicly in February that motorcycles were placed on the list because officials hoped the outrage of motorcyclists and the motorcycle industry would provide leverage for the U.S. beef industry.

“The U.S. Trade Representative is toying with the livelihoods of American families whose businesses haven’t fully recovered from the 2008 Great Recession,” Dingman said. “These dealerships will go under if this tariff is enacted.”

Lighthizer addressed the issue Thursday before the House Ways and Means Committee in response to a question from U. S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio). Lilghthizer said that he had heard from motorcyclists and from the motorcycle industry.

“He says he heard us, but he is not listening,” Dingman said. “The U.S. beef industry doesn’t need this tariff as much as these American motorcycle dealers need to stay in business and their employees need to keep their jobs.

“None of the American dealerships, nor any of their employees, has any greater ability than the beef industry to get the European Union to buy more U.S. beef,” Dingman continued. “Yet, the U.S. Trade Representative insists on playing chicken with the livelihoods of motorcycle dealers and the choices of American motorcyclists, while catering to the beef industry.”

During the first week after Lighthizer was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, motorcyclists sent nearly 2,500 emails to his office demanding that motorcycles be removed from the tariff proposal. Dingman made the same demand in person at a USTR hearing in February and again in a letter to Lighthizer.

A substantial proportion of AMA membership includes riders who own and ride motorcycles of 500cc displacement or less, including trail bikes for youths and adults, enduro bikes, dual-sport motorcycles, entry-level street motorcycles, scooters and others.

The 500cc-or-smaller category of motorcycle also is used in a significant portion of the AMA’s more than 3,000 sanctioned competition events enjoyed by hundreds of thousands annually. Many of those events are put on by promoters who are essentially small business owners who will be severely adversely affected by the proposed 100 percent tariff.

European makers of 51cc-399cc motorcycles used for racing provide nearly half the units available to U.S. consumers, and nearly a quarter of the market in the 400-500cc class.

In the on-road motorcycle segment, 100 percent of the models 300cc and smaller are imported to the United States from abroad.

Take action today to let the U.S. Trade Representative know that motorcyclists want action, not sympathy. Click here to use the AMA’s convenient method for ensuring your message gets through:

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  1. William Ow says:

    If the beef industry was to get a reaction. Tarif foreign guns and ammo. That will get a reaction!

  2. richard says:

    i say screw em…dont import to the States..robbing Peter to pay Paul is wrong..Americans wont miss the small bikes..they like the larger beef…excuse the guys always have Harley….maybe its time they got in to the scooter business..Maybe a “Harleducati”

  3. Tank says:

    We’re going to start shipping beef to China. This should help make up for any sales loses in Europe. Too bad we’re going to start importing Chinese chicken products.

  4. SVGeezer says:

    So no one is picking up the idea Rob just likes Big Bore Euro’s?? How many Triumphs, BMW’s, or Ducatis would this stop? (And thought all the small Euro Label bikes came from India or Thailand or something)

  5. ApriliaRST says:

    I did not notice the article saying the reason Europeans are restricting US beef is because in the US we allow the regular use of both hormones and antibiotics in beef feed, which has documented negative health effects on humans who eat it. So, basically, the US position is that we want to spread our damage to consumers and the Europeans don’t want to go along. If the US has it’s way, it will make more human-targeting bacteria resistant to available antibiotics and cancer, birth defects and human fertility problems more common. Other than that the US is fully reasonable… except there’s no link between the two lines of products, motorcycles and beef.

    • Mugwump says:

      The EU does import US beef that doesn’t contain any of the listed hormones or other drugs.

  6. joe b says:

    Wasn’t all of this started by Harley Davidson, in the eighties? And that’s why they went to India to make their new bike?

    • Fred M. says:

      At least that made some sense, since Harley was arguing that the Japanese were dumping motorcycles due to over-production. European motorcycles of 50cc-500cc don’t compete with sirloin steaks and ground beef.

  7. red says:

    The country voted for better international trade deals and the admin is trying to deliver. The Euros don’t have to buy our beef but if they artificially restrict the sale then it invites retribution. All the nonsense about “toxic” beef is just that. If you worry about it pay more for the free-range, no antibiotic meat.

    unfortunate for our retailers and consumers on the bike side.. hopefully the euro’s will blink first.

    • Fred M. says:

      No one with a with more than two digits in their IQ score believed that Donald Trump, a man whose Taj Mahal casino went from grand opening to bankrupt in six months, was going to negotiate “better international trade deals.”

      Is the U.S. ‘artificially restricting the sale of European cars’ by imposing our own safety standards? Does that ‘invite retribution’ from the EU?

      You wrote: “All the nonsense about “toxic” beef is just that.”

      What kind of medical degree do you have? Because the Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Science in the Public Interest both pressed for an adoption of a ban on hormone-fed farm animals within the US similar to that within the E.U.

      You wrote: “If you worry about it pay more for the free-range, no antibiotic meat.”

      This isn’t about antibiotics. The European Union banned the importation of meat that contained artificial beef growth hormones, not antibiotics.

      • joe b says:

        You tell ’em, Fred.

      • red says:

        There’s so much anger fueled politics ^ in everything it’s hard for the layperson to know what to believe

        I’ll stick with the FDA who say the hormone fed beef is safe, plenty of others too but FDA is final arbiter in US. So point was – let consumers decide whether to pay extra for the naturally raised beef.

        Again it’s unfortunate that the motorcycle community ends up a pawn in international trade disputes that have nothing to do with us.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “I’ll stick with the FDA who say the hormone fed beef is safe”


        • Fred says:

          The FDA and FSIS are doing their job to protect US Health.
          Only days ago, they halted imported Chilled Beef from Brazil into USA, because of 106 lots of meat across multiple consignments had blood clot’s, Lymph Nodes, and part bones in the meat, are capable of carrying infection.
          More than any Country, imported Brazilian meat stands out for a very close inspection by the FSIS.

      • Iffe says:

        Finally an educated input!

  8. David Fisher says:

    I eat a vegan diet so I could care less about the beef industry. I do love those foreign bikes! This is a stupid idea and will not help the beef producers but really may hurt the motorcycle industry.

  9. David Fisher says:

    I eat a vegan diet so I could care less about the beef industry. I do love those European motorcycles. This is a stupid trade-off and will not help the beef industry but may hurt the motorcycle industry.

  10. Motorhead says:

    Brilliant administration we have in Washington right now. Impressive bunch of guys. Hate to see any of them lose at the next election.

  11. MrD says:

    This could be the thing to get Polaris into the market. They have the tech to build a quality MX. I bet their sledhead crew could build ’em a pretty interesting 2-stroke too, if given the chance. But most likely, I suspect the only real winners in this deal would be the manufacturers in Japan, getting back some of the market they lost to KTM.

  12. ArTravlR says:

    The EUs don’t want our tainted meat! Neither do we!!!! I don’t blame them and the truth be told we don’t want little dirt bikes either, if we did we would make them ourselves. This is a non-issue FAKE NEWS distraction. I support the administration’s efforts to establish a fair playing field for American goods & services across the world.

    • Fred says:

      The POTUS Trump said “America FIRST,” NEVER did he say, America Fair.

    • Fred M. says:

      The 2015, 2016, and 2017 Supercross championships were won on KTM 450 SX-F motorcycles. So, yeah, we want their dirt bikes. We also want some of Europe’s dual sports and small displacement street bikes.

      This is not “fake news.” Fake news is deliberate misinformation and hoaxes spread via print and broadcast news media, and online social media. One example, “Clinton Foundation Cargo Ship Raided At Port Of Baltimore Reveals Sick Secret,” which went on to falsely claim that 460 undocumented “refugees from places like Yemen and Syria” were hidden in 14 shipping containers aboard a ship called the Chelsea (the Clinton Foundation owns no ships of any kind).

      We have a “fair playing field” already. The EU ban on those synthetic hormones applies to all beef, regardless of country of origin. If we want to sell beef to the EU, all we have to do is raise it without those hormones.

  13. Kyle says:

    So basically KTM dirtbikes is all this effects? Funny because many times I see an obese farmer with “BEEF” sticker on his truck, there is often a KTM sticker on their too. DOH!

    So for me worst case scenario is I buy a YZ250 instead of a KTM300. NBD.

    • Scott says:

      Beta and Piaggio will get screwed, too…

      • sbashir says:

        Husqvarna too. KTM and Husqvarna are some of the best dirt, dual-sport and supermoto bikes out there. Why should we be deprived?

  14. Dave says:

    “If you don’t buy our unacceptably low-quality beef, we’ll ruin the livelihoods of thousands of our citizens!”

    Is that what they’re going with?

  15. Chris says:

    A more accurate headline would be “Trump administration, U.S. trade representative to EU seek to ban importation of small displacement motorcycles from Europe”. It’s less mean spirited and wrongheaded than the tariff proposal, and ultimately accurate. Call it what it is.

    • Tim says:

      This was in the works before Trump was inaugurated.

      • Chris says:

        Seeing as how the USTR is still on this, ,tho now with “sympathies”, my friend, this belongs to DJT and his USTR.

      • Fred M. says:

        There was a very long list of tariffs being released for public comment, with Monday, January 30, 2017 at 11:59 p.m as the “Deadline for interested persons to submit written comments and requests to appear at the hearing, which must include a summary of testimony.” You will note that was after the inauguration of DJT.

        The list included both of the following:

        87112000 Motorcycles (incl. mopeds) and cycles, fitted with reciprocating internal-combustion piston engine with cylinder capacity of over 50 cc but not over 250 cc.

        87113000 Motorcycles (incl. mopeds) and cycles, fitted with reciprocating internal-combustion piston engine with cylinder capacity of over 250 cc but not over 500 cc.

        The list also included dozens of classes of items beyond the motorcycles, including truffles, grape juice, prepared or preserved liver of goose, electric hair clippers, and certain classes of yarn. I suspect that the list was released by the prior administration as a means of pressuring the EU into negotiating. The new administration lacks the diplomatic chops to understand that, so they charged ahead to put the tariffs in place, harming us in the process.

    • sbashir says:

      They have nothing against European small displacement motorcycles. They only want to use them as leverage since motorcyclists are a very vocal minority. I suppose Europeans would in turn have to impose a tariff on Harley Davidsons.

  16. Norm G. says:

    re: “officials hoped the outrage of motorcyclists and the motorcycle industry would provide leverage for the U.S. beef industry.”

    really…? is that what they hoped…?

    then they know neither the disconnected bunch that are American motorcyclists or the domestic motorcycle industry. nevermind that “beef” has nothing to do with “bikes”.

  17. Robrod says:

    Hey maybe the American Beef industry should wake up & realise that the rest of world doesn’t want there toxic meat, just say’n.

  18. Lenny B says:

    Lets stop eating beef and eat more bacon, maybe that will get their attention.

    • Mugwump says:

      Yup, I’m going single handedly bring down the beef industry, well I’m gonna try. I do love me some pig.

  19. todder says:

    I wonder if SWM motorcycles will be included since they haven’t come out yet to usa and are Chinese owned, Italian produced.

  20. dt 175 says:

    make the supercross 540 and 800 cc…

  21. ApriliaRST says:

    America voted for a trade war, remember, and the administration is happy enough to hurt both our own citizens and Europe. It’s a win-win.

  22. endoman38 says:

    I noticed Gas Gas seems to be in the proper place on the cow.

  23. blitz11 says:

    40 years ago, i worked at a motorcycle shop in Iowa.

    my boss would run funny newspaper ads (remember those?) with the ad starting Friday AM.

    My favorite ad was “Hog and Beef Sale.”

    He listed

    1977 KAW KZ900 $$$
    1978 KAW KZ1000 $$$
    1973 KAW Z1 $$$
    1972 KAW H2 $$$

    1971 Electra Glide $$

    Laughed very hard at then, and it still makes me smile now.

  24. Fred M. says:

    Robert Lighthizer is a 69 year old Republican appointed by Donald Trump. Is anyone surprised that he cares more about the corporate beef industry than American motorcyclists?

    The GOP-controlled congress has shown itself unwilling to oppose the Trump’s administration, so complaining to our congressional representatives will have no effect. The only way to have an effect on this kind of thing is to remember it when you cast your next vote.

    This isn’t just KTM and Husky. It’s going to devastate Vespa, Piaggio, Gas Gas, and Beta (arguably some of the best dual sports). Even BMW and Aprilia will be hit as they each sell bikes under 500cc. I predict that many dealers who specialize in European bikes that will close their doors, leaving many U.S. motorcyclists with no local dealers stocking parts and providing service for their European bikes.

    • sbashir says:

      “In 1985, Lighthizer negotiated on behalf of Brazil in a trade dispute with the United States over ethanol. Between 1985 and 1990, Lighthizer represented five foreign clients. According to filings with the United States International Trade Commission, Lighthizer represented an enterprise controlled by the government of China in a trade dispute with the United States in 1991.” – Wikipedia.
      Lighthizer has stated “I try to be friendly in negotiations. I’m not the theatrical type. The art of persuasion is knowing where the leverage is”.

      • Fred M. says:

        I’d seen that and it supports the “anything for money” mantra that is the sad hallmark of so many members of the Trump administration. Trump talks a good story about putting “America first” and then appoints people who lobbied for foreign companies, industries, and governments against U.S. interests.

  25. Bud says:

    Gas gas
    I see what you did there.

  26. todd says:

    Fewer and fewer sub 500cc bikes are being produced in Europe, most coming from India, Taiwan, or China. I can imagine more and more continuing to move much like KTM/Husky and BMW. It would be interesting to see this list of European bikes that are affected.

    • sbashir says:

      Regardless of where they are made, if they come from Europe and are 500cc or less, they are on the list.

  27. Tom says:

    Guess they will have to start making bikes at 501cc

  28. Tank says:

    This is a bunch of bull!

  29. carl says:

    Wtf does beef have to do with motorcycling??? Maybe if American beef wasn’t full of hormones, GMO corn etc maybe someone would eat the crap. I won’t even eat unless it’s a 100% grass fed and I buy directly from the farmer.

  30. Dan says:

    Well that’s okay, because there are plenty of American-made alternatives…oh yeah…never mind…

  31. chaz says:

    Maybe the answer is to contact your own congresspersons and ask them to introduce legislation prohibiting the use of hormones on cattle intended for human consumption in this country. I try to buy grass fed organic beef when it is available, and would like it to be easier. The beef industry should oppose the US position, not support it.


  32. Pacer says:

    This will really hurt KTM/Husqvarna.

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