Bikes, Beef, & Taxes
The AMA, its members, the Motorcycle Industry Council, individual manufacturers, dealers, and others had contacted the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative opposing the idea of possibly putting a 100 percent import duty on certain European goods -- including motorcycles with engine displacements of 51cc to 500cc.
"This is great news not only for U.S. enthusiasts of these European motorcycles but also for the small- and medium-sized American businesses that sell and import these machines," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. "But we have to remain vigilant to ensure that these bikes don't slip onto the tariff list in the future."
Imposing the tariff could have increased the cost of certain imported motorcycles and scooters from manufacturers such as Aprilia, Beta, BMW, Bultaco, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husqvarna, Husaberg, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, TM and Vespa.
The proposal was put together in 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 order to end it.
In a statement released on Jan. 15, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab noted her office late last year sought comments on which of more than 100 European goods should be subject to the tariffs.
"Approximately 600 comments were received by the requested due date of Dec. 8, 2008," she said. "An interagency committee of trade experts and economists reviewed the public comments and provided recommendations to the USTR with respect to modifications (to the list of products subject to additional duties) that would result in a more effective action, while taking account of effects on the U.S. economy, including consumers."
Schwab is imposing 100 percent duties -- 300 percent in the case of Roquefort cheese -- on a variety of European products ranging from meat to pears beginning March 23 in the trade dispute over beef.
In comments submitted to the U.S. trade representative by the Dec. 8 deadline, Moreland clearly stated the AMA's position.
"There is no logical link between European motorcycles and the dispute over beef," he said. "Imposing these stiff tariffs on motorcycles would do nothing to resolve the trade dispute, but would punish American buyers of European motorcycles. 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."
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has promoted and protected the motorcycling lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycle organization with nearly 300,000 members, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition events than any other organization in the world. Through its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, visit:http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/