It wasn’t yesterday, it’s not tomorrow (despite what you might read in some quarters) it’s right now. Yep, from Friday am UK time Europe has put in place a series of tariffs on USA-made imports as retaliation to President Trump’s trade policy.
The new duties on £2.4 billion worth of US products are now active and include motorcycles, orange juice and bourbon whiskey from the States.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said that the duties imposed by the US on the EU, which has sparked the trade issues with not only Britain but China and India which is set to raise taxes against 29 US product lines, go against: “All logic and history”.
The Trump administration announced in March that it would introduce tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium imported into the US.
After being deferred, the duties on steel and aluminium went ahead on 1 June and affect the EU, Canada, Mexico and other close US allies, including India.
European Commission president Mr Juncker, who has previously criticised the move, said on Thursday: “It goes against all logic and history. Our response must be clear but measured.”
So far, there has been no statement from Harley-Davidson about where these new measures will be felt most. Will the American company, that imports somewhere in the region of 40,000 motorcycles to Europe a year, absorb the price rise itself to maintain the current pricing structure of its bikes or will it hike motorcycle prices accordingly?
If H-D does absorb the tariff increase then it will instantly cut profitability on the big bikes by a quarter. Raising motorcycle prices could see H-D finding itself selling less as more keenly-priced competitors move in.
A statement from Harley-Davidson said: “We are currently determining the potential impacts to our customers and our business. 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.”