The cost of motorcycles in Europe could drop as much as 8 percent thanks to a trade agreement signed Tuesday.
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The agreement between the European Union and Japan creates the largest bilateral free-trade deal in history, encompassing roughly 30 percent of the world’s GDP. Officials from both sides said the agreement was created in part as a rebuke of the protectionist trade policies of US President Donald Trump.
“Politically, it’s a light in the increasing darkness of international politics. We are sending a clear message that you can count on us. We are predictable – both Japan and [the] EU – predictable and responsible and will come to the defense of a world order based on rules, freedom and transparency, and common sense,” said President of the European Council Donald Tusk. “Today is a good day not only for all the Japanese and Europeans but for all reasonable people of this world who believe in mutual respect and cooperation.”
Set to come into force as early as next year, the trade deal (the name of which news agencies don’t seem to have agreed upon – some calling it the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, or JEEPA, and some calling in the Japan-Europe Free Trade Agreement, or JEFTA) will eliminate as much as 99 percent of the tariffs on Japanese goods coming into the European Union. The deal is intended to stand in contrast to Trump’s rejection of the TTIP and TPP agreements. Credit goes to the great mulleted Scotsman Alan Dowds for working out that this will ultimately mean that tariffs on Japanese motorcycles could drop by as much as 8 percent – a savings that could presumably then be passed on to the consumer.
European bikes will also become more affordable in Japan. Thanks to the exponential fuckery of Brexit, riders in the United Kingdom are not set to benefit from the deal.
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One offshoot of the agreement is that the safety and environmental regulations of both countries will be streamlined to conform with one another. Already the safety and emissions standards of both countries are almost identical but bikes are still being subjected to the cost and red tape of double testing and certification. The new agreement will mean that bikes moving between the two entities will only need to go through the process once.
No doubt this will reinforce the trend of manufacturers building bikes to meet EU-Japan standards even when the bikes aren’t necessarily destined for those markets. Harley-Davidson does this, for example, thereby saving itself the trouble and expense of tooling a production line for multiple markets.
Related to American manufacturers, it seems this new deal may provide additional incentive for Indian to move some of its manufacturing overseas. The company has conceded that in light of Trump’s trade war policies it may shift production of Europe-intended bikes to an existing Polaris plant in Poland. Such a move would make even more sense now, because it would give the brand easier access to the Japanese market. Though, to be honest, I’m not sure there are that many Japanese consumers who are keen on American-style motos.