American beef farmers want 100 per cent tax on sub-500cc European bikes

Sub-500cc Ducatis could double in price in the US
Sub-500cc Ducatis could double in price in the US

Bit of a mad one this. A Mad Cow story if you will, ha. But it’s also topical, and genuine news, so we’re running it!

The story is complex and long-running: essentially, the US beef industry uses a load of hormones, antibiotics and other additives to make cows grow bigger, faster. But the European Union has deemed these practices unhealthy for the animals and the people who eat them - so it’s banned US beef with additives from being sold in the EU.

The US trade department has been fighting against this for decades now - and the latest round of attacks has centred on small-capacity motorbikes, for undetermined reasons. So the United States Trade representative has petitioned the US government to put a 100% tariff on bikes between 50-500cc imported from Europe.

That will hit big boys like BMW, KTM, Husqvarna and Ducati, as well as Piaggio, Aprilia, Vespa and a load of other smaller makers (mostly offroad firms: Beta, Fantic, Gas Gas, Sherpa etc). If the measures go through, bikes like BMW’s G310 and Ducati’s 400 Scrambler will double in price. Eek!

Triumph won’t be hit though - all its bikes are over 500cc - and all the bigger bikes imported from Europe will also escape any tariffs, for the moment at least.

The American Motorcyclist Association has a petition against the moves here. Click and sign if you’re American and want to fight this change…

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