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TARIFF WAR AGAINST EUROPEAN BIKES LOOMS

Despite a strident campaign on behalf of US dealers and consumers by the American Motorcyclists Association (AMA), Donald Trump’s Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is refusing to back down over a threatened 100% duty on up-to-500cc bike imports from Europe.

On 22 June, Lighthizer told a Congressional Ways and Means Committee that he cannot remove small-displacement European motorcycles from the proposed raft of punitive import tariffs while negotiations continue in a dispute with the EU over blocked exports of US beef containing hormones. However, Lighthizer said he was sympathetic to the concerns expressed by dealerships and others.

Responding to the news, AMA chief executive Rob Dingman, pictured, said: “Ambassador Lighthizer has chosen the US beef industry over American motorcyclists and Americans who own and operate motorcycle dealerships. He is toying with the livelihoods of American families whose businesses haven’t fully recovered from the 2008 recession. These dealers will go under if the tariff is enacted. He says he heard us but he is not listening.”

A member of Lighthizer’s staff had reportedly admitted that motorcycles were put on the tariff list because officials hoped the potentially huge impact on European bike manufacturers through loss of sales across their Amercan dealer networks would provide leverage for the US beef industry.

During the week after Lighthizer was confirmed in position by the US Senate, AMA members had sent nearly 2500 e-mails to his office demanding that motorcycles be removed from the tariff proposal. Dingman made the same demand in person at a US trade hearing and again in a letter to Lighthizer.

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