EU could target Harleys in trade spat: report


Pictured: A Harley Davidson rider in Munich, Germany, 15 November 2014. The American motorcycle maker could be targeted under retaliatory tariffs reportedly being considered by the EU. Photo credit: Ade Russell (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) 

Brussels has drawn up a list of American products that could be hit with punitive tariffs as part of a simmering transatlantic trade war.

The European Commission list, seen by Bloomberg News, identified €2.8bn worth of US consumer, agricultural and steel goods made in politically fertile regions of the US.

Last week Donald Trump ordered tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminium products to counter what he described as unfair competition and national security concerns.

According to the Bloomberg story, published on 6 March, American goods on the EU list include Harley-Davidson motorbikes, made in Wisconsin, which is home to Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives; bourbon, made in Kentucky, home of the senate majority leader Mitch McConnell; and jeans made by Levi Strauss, which is headquartered in the California district of Nancy Pelosi, the house minority leader.

Ryan has already expressed opposition to the US measures. His spokeswoman was quoted by CNN as saying on 6 March: “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan.”

Officials led by Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, are expected to discuss the EU’s proposed list and a possible complaint to the World Trade Organisation on Wednesday.

CNBC reported that China is also developing a list of American imports to restrict or add tariffs.