American Motorcyclist Association President and CEO Rob Dingman will testify Feb. 15 against a 100 percent tariff on some European motorcycles proposed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
"We object to this proposed tariff because it would harm American motorcyclists," Dingman said. "Significantly raising the cost of European motorcycles through a tariff could price thousands of families out of the motorcycle market."
The tariff would affect motorcycles with engines displacing 51cc to 500cc from Aprilia, Beta, BMW, Ducati, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husqvarna, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, Sherco, TM and Vespa.
The federal agency is seeking the tariff as leverage against the European Union in an ongoing dispute over the importing of U.S. beef to Europe that contains hormones. A public hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 15 in Rooms 1 and 2, 1724 F St. NW., Washington, D.C.
At the AMA's urging, more than 10,000 emails have been sent to Congress on this issue, nearly 10,000 comments have been made directly to the agency through Regulations.gov and more than 5,000 emails have been sent to President Donald Trump.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade, commodity and direct investment policy and overseeing negotiations with other countries. The head of USTR is the U.S. Trade Representative, a Cabinet member who serves as the president's principal trade adviser, negotiator and spokesperson on trade issues.
"We don't believe non-agricultural products should be included in tariffs connected to agricultural trade disputes," Dingman said. "In addition to substantially raising prices for American riders, this tariff would jeopardize the many small and medium-sized businesses that rely on the sale of European motorcycles, parts and accessories."
European makers of 51cc-399cc motorcycles used for racing provide nearly half the units available to U.S. consumers, and nearly a quarter of the market in the 400-500cc class. There are not significant numbers of U.S.-made options for consumers in those market segments.
In the on-road motorcycle segment, 100 percent of the models 300cc and smaller are imported to the United States from abroad.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative tried the same tactic in 1998 and 2008, but the efforts were thwarted when the AMA, the Motorcycle Industry Council and bike manufacturers and retailers rallied motorcyclists against the plan. At that time, the U.S. Trade Representative instead raised the tariff on a variety of European food products.