Trump Trade War Hits Harley Davidson, Wisconsin

This week marks the first in which American motorcycle icon Harley-Davidson has to face stiff trade tariffs in EU markets. It’s a move that’s being called a retaliation to Trump administration tariffs on European aluminum and steel that sees a 25% import tariff on large motorcycles coming from the US.

“Large”, in this case, references motorcycles whose engines displace 500cc or more. That means the new 25% tax will hit both Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles, but won’t impact electric brands like Zero. To quote Asphalt and Rubber, “the (EU) is adding the 25% tariff to the goods that fall under HS code 87114000 & 87115000 on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System,” which state:

 

  • 87114000: Motorcycles, incl. mopeds, with reciprocating internal combustion piston engine of a cylinder capacity > 500 cm3 but <= 800 cm3

  • 87115000: Motorcycles, incl. mopeds, with reciprocating internal combustion piston engine of a cylinder capacity > 800 cm3

There is speculation that this move is intended to specifically target Harley-Davidson, rather than Indian. Harley has received some Trump flavored love recently, and just so happens to be based in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the home of Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of US Representatives and Republican Party big shot. Harley sold roughly 40,000 motorcycles in Europe last year compared to a handful of Indian bikes as that company still seems focused on building out its US-based business.

What do you guys think? Is the EU specifically targeting a GOP stronghold and a largely conservative base of Harley customers with this move, or is Harley just getting caught in the crossfire of a bigger issue? Is “Trump Flavored Love” the worst thing Stormy Daniels you’ve had to think of today, or do you kind of like the sound of it? Let us know your thoughts on these and other pressing matters of national importance in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

 

Trump Flavored Love

Sources | Images: the EU, via Asphalt and Rubber.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.