On Eve of U.S.-China Trade Summit, Senators Rev Up Pressure on China to End Trade Barriers that Have Put the Brakes on U.S. Made Motorcycle Sales
American-Built Icon, Harley-Davidson, is Unfairly Shut Out of the Chinese Motorcycle Market
Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Robert P. Casey (D-PA), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) announced they have urged trade and commerce officials to press the Chinese government to remove trade barriers that are effectively preventing American motorcycle companies from competing in China.
In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab and Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez, the senators said China should take a visible step towards eliminating the barriers at the upcoming meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). This round of the annual meetings is set for next week in Beijing.
Despite a two-year presence in the Chinese market, Harley-Davidson's sales in the country are virtually non-existent due to municipal regulations that limit or even ban heavy-duty motorcycle use in urban areas. The rules are just another example of the arbitrary, non-tariff barriers erected by China that have the effect of unfairly limiting access to the Chinese market. Such actions call into question China's compliance with its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization.
"The Chinese market should be a hog heaven for U.S. motorcycle companies, but China's unfair trade practices are slamming the brakes on Harley sales," Senator Schumer said. "Companies like Harley-Davidson should be rewarded for keeping manufacturing jobs here in the U.S., not punished by China's attempts to control the market. The U.S. Government should be going to bat for an American icon like Harley-Davidson. The bottom line is that American-made motorcycles should not be prevented from participating in the Chinese market."
"A premier American-made product like Harley-Davidson motorcycles can compete anywhere in the world based on engineering and design merits, but only if given fair access to the marketplace," Senator Kohl said. "Harley-Davidson is ready to do business worldwide, and we need to eliminate the trade barriers that are preventing their legendary cycles from reaching buyers who want them."
"Fair trade must be a two-way street," said Senator Casey. "China's roadblock to Harley-Davidson is unacceptable. There will always be a demand for a classic like Harley-Davidson motorcycles, but artificial barriers are threatening U.S. jobs."
"As we import billions of dollars worth of Chinese products each year, American companies like Harley-Davidson deserve fair access to Chinese markets," Senator McCaskill said. "This is important not only to American jobs, but also to our trade relationship with China."
Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson employs 8,500 workers at its plants in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Missouri. In addition to these manufacturing plants, the Goodyear Dunlop tire facility in Buffalo, NY employs 1,300 people. Goodyear Dunlopthe last American manufacturer of motorcycle tiressupplies Harley-Davidson with 100% of its original equipment and replacement tires. These tires are produced solely at the Buffalo facility. Last week, Harley-Davidson experienced a planned shut down of operations at its plants in those three states due to flat sales.