There is the threat of a 100% tariff being imposed on European motorcycles from 50 to 500cc... in other words, KTM, BMW, Husqvarna, Sherco, Beta, Gas Gas, TM and any other companies that export single cylinder off-road and dual sport bikes into the US.

I post this because I know there are lots of off-road guys here.

The highlights:

  1. In the 1980's or 1990's the European Union banned beef that contained growth hormones from the United States.
  2. The United States did tests to prove the growth beef with growth hormones was 'benign'.
  3. The United States then went to the World Trade Organization with this information and a WTO arbitration committee ruled in the United States favor - They ordered Europe to allow hormone beef into the EU.
  4. When the EU did not comply, the WTO authorized the United States to collect $116.8 million in tariffs from products imported from the EU – that number has not changed.
  5. There are now several products that have a 100% tariff from the EU into the United States – almost all of those products are food related, with the notable exceptions of Yarn from France & Germany and some ‘glue’ from France.

The USTR is re-visiting what products should and should not have a tariff because apparently it is not having the desired effect of getting the EU to comply with the court order to allow USA beef to be imported to the EU.
As of today – Thursday December 4th 2008 they are open to receive comments regarding what products should have the default tariff of 100% applied, as of Monday December 8th at 5pm EST they will no longer be open to comments.

From the office of the United States Trade Representitive (USTR):
"Federal Register/Vol. 73, No. 216/Thursday, November 6, 2008/Notices"
Contains 2 lists of products - Annex I and Annex II, it is important to note those lists have not changed since 1999.
  • Annex I products have a default tariff rate of 100%.
  • Annex II products have no special tariffs imposed over this issue.

That document is asking for comments regarding which products should be on the 100% Tariff list - they are asking which products from Annex I should no longer have a Tariff, and which products from Annex II should be put on the annex I list and therefore have the default 100% tariff.

The last 2 items on the Annex II list that could have a 100% tariff are EU motorcycles, specifically:
(87112000) Motorcycles (incl. mopeds) and cycles, fitted with reciprocating internal combustion engine with cylinder capacity of over 50cc but not over 250cc
(87113000) Motorcycles (incl. mopeds) and cycles, fitted with reciprocating internal combustion engine with cylinder capacity of over 250cc but not over 500cc

Apparently in the 1980s & 1990s Italy was one of the more vocal proponents of the sanctions of the hormone beef products from the USA. Because Italy does not export a signficant amount of agricultural products to the USA they looked for other products to tariff i.e. motorcycles. If the motorcycles get on the Annex I list it will almost certainly apply to all EU bikes - KTM, Gas Gas, Husqvarna, etc.

The goal is to get the EU to resume the importation of the USA beef, after that all special tariffs go away. To that end the people who decide what tariffs to impose (USTR) have the following goals:
  1. Minimize the impact on USA consumers and producers
  2. Impose some ‘pain’ to the EU producers of products in retaliation & compensation for the fiscal harm they have cause the USA producers of EU banned products (beef with hormones).

If you want to buy a European bike i.e. Husqvarna in the future there are things you can do - now, not later

Send these types of thoughts/comments:
  • How will it affect you? Will your income be affected?
  • Do you think they will collect any Tariff $ if the bikes cost 2X what they do now? $17,000?
  • Are there any domestic products as suitable substitutions for European bikes? Especially the 2st and dirtbikes with factory plates...
  • Do you think if USA importers/dealers no longer exist you will be able to buy parts for existing bikes easily?

Please keep in mind the USTR is truly searching for input cause they really want to know, please be polite.

Please fax your comments to:
(202) 395-3640
(202) 395-4579 backup fax number

Or you can view the document, view comments, and add your own comments here:
Cancer didn't kill me, think you can?