The American Motorcyclist Association took immediate action upon the Senate confirmation of Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative, sending Lighthizer a letter demanding he remove European motorcycles from a tariff proposal related to U.S. beef exports.
The AMA also called on its members to inundate Lighthizer with their objections to a plan to place a 100 percent tariff on motorcycles imported from the European Union with an engine size between 51cc and 500cc.
The European motorcycles were included in a long list of items that would be the subject of tariffs as part of a long-running dispute between U.S. beef producers and the European Union. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative stated publicly that motorcycles were included because they hoped the outrage of motorcyclists would give the U.S. leverage over foreign governments.
“Those who will suffer the most from this proposed tariff are the Americans who use small-displacement motorcycles and scooters for outdoor recreation and urban riding,” AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman wrote to the trade representative. “These are products that are not offered by American manufacturers.
“A substantial portion of AMA membership includes riders who own and ride motorcycles of 500cc or smaller displacement, including trail bikes for youths and adults, enduro bikes, dual-sport motorcycles, entry-level street motorcycles, scooters and others,” Dingman wrote. “The 500cc-or-lower category of motorcycle also is used in a significant portion of the AMA’s more than 3,000 sanctioned competition events enjoyed by hundreds of thousands annually.”
The proposed tariff also would harm U.S. businesses.
“In America, the majority of motorcycles under 500cc are sold through small, independently owned shops,” Dingman wrote. “The collection of small- to medium-sized dealerships in the United States contributes to the employment of a substantial number of Americans. These dealerships, while small in size, employ individuals for motorcycle sales, aftermarket equipment sales, clothing and merchandise sales, vehicle maintenance and repairs and general dealership operations.
“Instead of viewing the American motorcycling community as pawns with an imagined grassroots reach far beyond our shores, the USTR needs to grasp the significant hardships this tariff will cause to hardworking, everyday tax-paying Americans,” Dingman wrote.