I think we can all agree that the streets of international trade and finance are meaner than they were a couple of years ago. Trade wars, tariffs, and blustering announcements of new and punitive trade measures are a daily occurrence. Well, dear reader, add this to the list of reasons you get up in the morning with just one eye open. This week, the E.U. announced it has launched another trade bomb, this time on motorcycles. A new 25% levy will be placed on American-made bikes that are exported to the Continent. The tariff is in response to recent measures the Trump Administration put on steel and aluminum from Europe headed for the U.S.
These motorcycle tariffs make up part of an array of increased duty dropped on over 160 U.S. products. These include clothing, cosmetics, steel and an assortment of foods. Products such as motorcycles are being covered extensively around the world due to their particular American nature.
For Harley-Davidson and Indian bikes, price increases are inevitable, even beyond the 25% tariffs. That’s due to previous tariffs on steel imported to the United States that have increased their costs. Already, Harley-Davidson has moved some of its production overseas to avoid the worst of the damage. Industry experts say the rising cost of material around the world will result in higher priced bikes no matter the country of origin.
Harley-Davidson’s official statement was straightforward: “On Wednesday, the EU announced tariffs on US products, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles. We are currently determining the potential impacts. Harley-Davidson’s position on tariffs has not changed: We support free and fair-trade policies that address barriers to international growth and allow us to compete globally.”
President Trump fired back, threatening to slap a 20% tariff on cars manufactured on European soil. No exact timing has been confirmed, and it’s unclear how the retaliatory blow will affect the European cars that are built here in America. Mercedes, Volkswagen, and BMW all manufacture cars in the United States.
Through it all, in both the car and motorcycle worlds the continuing trade war is only expected to escalate further. It means, at the end of the day, the cost of motorcycles is going up for everyone.