It's a shocking headline, but it could become true. There's been a dispute about the importation of US beef into Europe, due to a ban on American beef that contains growth hormones. It's a ban that has been in place for 20 years, and the European Commission is not going to lift the ban. There are very strict rules on how to grow beef in Europe, and letting beef in from other countries that don't respect the norms, would cause havoc for the beef industry in Europe. The ban is not on US beef, but on beef with growth hormones.
The US government has taken Europe to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and won, but despite that, the Europe Commission continues the import ban.
Now the US officials are looking at retaliating. And the way they want to process is to impose a 100% import duty on all European goods, including all motorcycles under 500 cc.
This would mean that next time you buy an Aprilia, Beta, BMW, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husaberg, Husqvarna, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, Sherco, TM or Vespa, you'll be paying double the price, in other words, there's no way you'll be seeing those motorcycles in the US.
The AMA are strongly opposing the plan, and have written to the Office of the US Trade Representative. "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."
"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."
To read the full text of the letter the AMA submitted to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, click here.
With bail-outs of the like of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler because of the enormous economic impact it will have on the US economy, imagine what this import duty will do to all the motorcycle dealers in the USA. All European motorcycle dealers will have to shut down, causing many unemployed people.
It also means that your choice in buying a motorcycle is going to be limited to US based motorcycles, like Harley or Buell, or Asian motorcycles.
Wouldn't an import duty on agricultural products from Europe be better? And why can't the US Trade organization understand that Europe has outlawed growth hormones, and that maybe there's a good reason for it. If exporting beef is so important, then grow special beef for export to Europe, without the hormones. It's really that simple.
Is this another thing on Obama's list of to-dos ??