The whole point of a good headline is to grab the attention of the reader, and this one currently doing the rounds has certainly captured the two-wheeled community’s attention.
So, here’s the real lowdown on the facts. Over three decades ago, EU scientists claimed that US beef contained more steroids than a mid-70’s Mr. Universe Winner and promptly introduced an import ban. “Foul,” shouted US beef producers, and through heavy lobbying, got the Bush Administration to initiate increased tariffs on some EU imports. “That constitutes an escalation of hostilities,” whined the EU to Obama, who put it on the back burner for further consultation.
Sometime later, the World Trade Organization declared that European scientists had insufficient evidence to support their claims, and could therefore up taxes on EU goods to regain potentially lost tax revenue.
And here’s where the plot thickens. Recently, the US beef lobby flexed some muscle and presented an updated retaliation list to the Office of United States Trade Representatives. Mostly related to a long line of food stuffs, some enterprising spark did however, spot a rather incongruous item right at the very bottom of their list here, namely motorcycles from 50-500cc which would be hit with a 100% import.
But for what it’s worth, here’s my take on the whole thing. Having toured the US and the world extensively, I have to say that US steaks are one of the best, but why the hell are beef producers sticking their nose into motorcycle imports?
Secondly, European Ministers, just like their US counterparts, tend to find evidence to support which ever cause is lobbying them the hardest. Thirdly, a really interesting report by the Beef Cattle Research Council states that “a person would need to eat 3,000,000 hamburgers made with beef from implanted cattle to get as much estrogen as the average adult woman produces every day.” And last but not least, Great Britain, having had enough of the EU’s particular brand of dictatorial crap, is currently trying to opt out. So maybe the US can sell their delicious and humungous T- Bones to dear ol’ Blighty.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time import duty has been used as a protectionist measure, in 1983 President Reagan yielded to lobbying from Harley Davidson to increase import duty on Japanese motorcycles by 49.4%. A move which Harley themselves asked to be rescinded five years later. Funny old world innit!