After 17 long years of litigation, the US and EU have agreed to end tariffs associated with civil aircraft.  The legal battle over government subsidies to aircraft manufacturers is finally over.

Tariffs due to aircraft subsidies

During the dispute, many non-aircraft products were hit with outlandish tariffs.  The additional levy cost importers gigantic sums of money.  Just since 2019, US importers paid more than $1.1 billion to import a variety of products.  And unfortunately for motorcyclists around the world, motorcycles were included in the dispute’s crosshairs.

Motorcycles caught in the dispute

During the fracas, motorcycles, motorcycle parts, and motorcycle accessories were all on the table to impose tariffs.  Most recently, the EU threatened Harley-Davidson motorcycles with a 56 percent tariff, which would have endangered sales of the bikes in the EU.  But with this new agreement, those tariffs, whether threatened or actually imposed, are now hopefully a fading memory.

Trade Representatives speak

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai issued a statement indicating that as long as the terms of the agreement were abided by, US tariffs associated with the aircraft spat will remain suspended for at least 5 years.

Tai said:

“Today’s announcement resolves a long-standing trade irritant in the US-EU relationship… We have also with the EU agreed to clear statements on acceptable support for large civil aircraft producers and a cooperative process to address that support between our two parties.”

In turn, European Commission President Ursula von Leyen said:

“This meeting has started with a breakthrough on aircraft.  This really opens a new chapter in our relationship because we move from litigation to cooperation on aircraft — after 17 years of dispute.”

Good news, but for how long?

The deal is good news for American-made motorcycles, parts, and accessories.  But there’s still a chance that they can be quickly reimposed.  If either party fails to follow the agreement, the tariffs can be readily reinstated.  Or, there’s always the possibility that another trade issue could bring new tariffs on the motorcycle industry.

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