Rapid City businessman John Tsitrian notes that, between visiting the Pope and saving the planet in Europe, President Biden also pulled Harley-Davidson out of the wreckage of the previous administration’s trade war:
…much as the HD-associated culture is infatuated by the former president, Trump’s nemesis Joe Biden has actually gone to bat for American manufacturers like Harley-Davidson, coming through with a deal that gives them a nice boost in the international trading arena. The gist of the deal is that Biden and the EU have agreed to end a dispute over steel and aluminum tariffs that were imposed in 2018 by – guess who? Yup. That biker-adored guy in the White House at the time, Donald Trump.
Those tariffs made Harley-Davidson products uncompetitive in Europe, so Biden’s deal should do Harley-Davidson a lot of good. Traders were euphoric on Wall Street, with HOG (Harley’s stock symbol) gaining nearly 9% on Nov. 1, the first trading day after the deal was announced.
…In a press release issued last weekend by Harley-Davidson, CEO Jochen Zeitz said, “Today’s news is a big win for Harley-Davidson and our customers, employees and dealers in Europe. Our thanks go out to President Biden, Secretary Raimundo and the U.S. Administration, for their efforts in this negotiation. We are excited that this brings an end to a conflict that was not of our making, and in which Harley-Davidson had no place” [John Tsitrian, “Bikers Take Note: Harley-Davidson Just Scored a ‘Big Win’ in President Biden’s Tariff Deal with the European Union,” South Dakota Standard, 2021.11.06].
Biden’s tariff rollback with Europe will do more than strengthen America’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer. It will help put Americans back to work and check inflation:
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ (AEM) Dennis Slater told the Milwaukee Business Journal in August that the tariffs caused price of steel throughout the U.S. to increase very quickly. That caused costs to increase for American manufacturers that use steel and made them less competitive with manufacturers in other countries, Slater said.
The new agreement will help address steel shortages and soaring prices that have hurt equipment manufacturers, while also addressing overcapacity from China and preventing leakage of Chinese steel into the U.S. market, the AEM said in a statement issued Saturday night. The organization hopes that both sides will build on the momentum from the agreement to remove the remaining obstacles to free and fair trade, Slater said.
“President Biden deserves a lot of credit for getting back to the negotiating table with our European partners and reaching an agreement that, while not perfect, goes a long way in restoring free and fair trade across the Atlantic,” Slater said. “The tariffs on steel and aluminum have increased the cost of production of U.S. agriculture and construction equipment, cost our industry thousands of jobs, and hurt the U.S. economy” [Rich Kirchen, “Biden’s EU Tariff Deal ‘Big Win’ for Harley-Davidson; May Provide Relief for Other Manufacturers,” Milwaukee Business Journal, 2021.10.31].
There are valid conservative concerns that President Biden’s deal with the European Union leaves too much of Trump’s costly, job-killing, anti-free-market trade policy in place. But the Wall Street Journal acknowledges that undoing even part of Trump’s trade errors is good for the U.S. and Europe. It’s also good for the planet:
The two big economies committed to work together “to achieve the decarbonisation of the global steel and aluminium industries in the fight against climate change”, the European Commission said in a statement.
Steel and aluminium manufacturing are among the biggest carbon emitters globally.
Under the terms of the deal, “dirty steel” made in China will be restricted from accessing US and EU markets. China’s lack of environmental standards is part of what drives down its costs and is a major contributor to climate change [“US, EU Agree on Steel Tariffs to Help on Climate Change,” Aljazeera, 2021.10.31].
…and for international relations:
Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a joint appearance during the Group of 20 summit that the agreement represented a renewed partnership on economic and environmental matters.
…Von der Leyen kept smiling at Biden and calling him “dear Joe” as they discussed the deal, an apparent sign that the U.S. president had made progress in repairing relations with Europe after the partnership suffered during the Trump years.
“It will be a major step forward in achieving climate neutrality and it will ensure a level playing field,” she said, adding that the agreement was part of a renewed, forward-looking agenda with the U.S. [Zeke Miller and Josh Boak, “US, EU Say Deal on Steel Tariffs Will Help on Climate Change,” AP, 2021.10.31].
President: good for Harley, good for global harmony.