The European Union has placed an additional 25-percent tariff on all American-made motorcycles exported to Europe. The tariff went into effect June 22 and is a direct response to the recent tariffs the Trump administration placed on aluminum and steel exports from Europe bound for the United States.
The motorcycle tariffs are part of a sweeping application of additional duty on more than 160 US products including steel, clothing, cosmetics, and many categories of food. But products like whiskey, jeans, and motorcycles are being highlighted and covered heavily in global media due to their iconic American nature.
For Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle, price increases for their motorcycles in Europe are likely go beyond the 25-percent tariff since US tariffs on imported steel have increased the cost of raw materials that go into motorcycle production. Indeed, the rising cost of raw materials globally as a result of the tariffs could result in more expensive motorcycles regardless of 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 immediately fired back at the EU by threatening to place a 20-percent tariff on European cars. No timing for this retaliation has been announced, and it is unclear how this would affect the hundreds of thousands of European cars built in America. BMW, Mercedes, and VW all have plants in the US.
The potential of an ongoing trade war continues escalate. Whatever the outcome, the cost of motorcycles is likely to go up.