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Harley gets reprieve as EU exempted from Trump’s steel tariffs

Harley will not be targeted in EU retaliation as Trump excludes EU from steel tariffs

Harley-Davidson will be breathing a sigh of relief at the news that Europe is to be temporarily exempted from America’s new tariffs on imported steel.

The firm was in the firing line for potential punitive European import duties in retaliation against America’s new 25 per cent tariff on imported steel and 10 per cent tariff on foreign aluminium. European ministers had specifically named the firm as a possible target, along with Levi’s jeans and Jack Daniel’s bourbon, as iconic American manufacturers with a strong European presence.

But for now the EU, along with Argentina, Brazil, Australia and South Korea, has been temporarily exempted from the American steel tariffs. The exemptions will give time for the countries to try to negotiate permanent exemptions.

For other countries including Russia and, surprisingly, Japan, the American steel tariffs come into force today.
While Harley-Davidson’s main market is America, the EU is its biggest export market, accounting for around 16% of sales. A 25 per cent additional import duty, as mooted, would have decimated its sales here. Prices may still be driven up by the additional costs that Harley, and other American manufacturers, will face thanks to the new US steel and aluminium import tariffs.

The fact that Japan has not been given an exemption may yet cause Harley a headache. It’s another of Harley’s big export markets, but it’s not yet clear whether Japan will impose retaliatory import duties on American goods.

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