Fears grow over impact of proposed US tariffs on motorcycle industries

Concern is growing about the impact that tariffs worth $11.2 billion per year proposed by the US government could have on the UK’s motorcycle, parts and accessory markets.

Citing subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus by the European Union and certain member states, the Executive Office of the President has released a preliminary list of products that would be hit by retaliatory duties until the Airbus subsidies are removed.

The preliminary list covers a vast range of products and industries from across the entire European Union – including cheese, swordfish steaks, cloth, artists’ brushes, jam, brandy and scallops – but motorcycles in the 500cc-700cc range, parts, accessories and many tools essential for their manufacture are singled out.

The proposed 100% tariffs would present a major obstacle to any of these products being viable in the large and lucrative US market, and the UK’s motorcycle, parts and accessories industries are therefore at significant risk of losing out on export sales.

The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) has confirmed that it is working with the British government to address the issue and that it will meet with a government minister next month for further discussion.

In the meantime, a World Trade Organisation arbitrator is currently evaluating the US government’s claims. The European Union has previously objected to subsidies to the US-based aerospace giant Boeing by the US Department of Defence and NASA it alleges are illegal, and a competing case covering this dispute is also before the World Trade Organisation.

Commenting, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said: “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft. When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”