Industry | Harley-Davidson slapped with 56% EU tariff

Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz called the situation ‘unprecedented’ going on to say it will significantly affect EU operations

Harley-Davidson LiveWire UK road test

HARLEY-DAVIDSON has been hit where it hurts this week after EU lawmakers have proposed a 56% trade tariff on motorcycles imported into the continent the United States.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire (2020) Review 

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The ruling is not due to come into effect until June, and Harley is rightly stating it will appeal the law. The 56% tariff is the second hammer blow to the Milwaukee firm in just three years after in 2018 the EU placed a 25% incremental tariff (31% total) on any motorcycles imported into the European Union from the USA, that would include H-D and Indian motorcycles.

The latest changes would see the total tariff of 56% applicable on all American-made motorcycles, even those manufactured in Thailand, a move that Harley made recently to circumnavigate the 2018 tarrif ruling.

Jochen Zeitz, Harley chairman, president, and CEO, said in a statement.

"This is an unprecedented situation and underscores the very real harm of an escalating trade war to our stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic. The potential impact of this decision on our manufacturing operations and overall ability to compete in Europe is significant.

“Imposing an import tariff on all Harley-Davidson motorcycles goes against all notions of free trade and, if implemented, these increased tariffs will pose a targeted competitive disadvantage for our products, against those of our European competitors.”

The move by the EU couldn’t come at a worse time. The firm is set to launch one of its most important models of recent years in the UK next month the Pan America. And after a year of turbulent times for investors, the firm posted Q1 profits of $259m, up from $70m the previous year.