Harley-Davidson Applauds U.S. Trade Agreement With Vietnam
Agreement Reduces Vietnamese Barriers to Motorcycle Imports and Operation
MILWAUKEE, May 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HDI) motorcycles can one day roll through the cities and countryside of Vietnam, thanks to an agreement in principle on trade that opens the Southeast Asian country to more U.S. products. During the final round of negotiations in the Bilateral WTO Market Access Agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam, officials of the Office of the United States Trade Representative were successful in eliminating or lowering longstanding barriers to Harley-Davidson's market entry in Vietnam. In addition to lifting an outright ban on large displacement motorcycles, Vietnam will adopt a basic and transparent motorcycle operators licensing system, relax distribution restrictions and reduce tariffs on heavyweight (650cc-plus engine displacement) motorcycles by 60% over time. Harley-Davidson has not yet announced any definitive plans for selling motorcycles in Vietnam. However, the Company has long been interested in expanding its presence in Asia and considers market access of the kind provided by the trade agreement as key to its future expansion into Vietnam. In April, 2006, in another move into Asia, Harley-Davidson opened a dealership in Beijing -- the Company's first dealership in mainland China since at least prior to World War II. And the Company has long been a major force in the motorcycle market in Japan, where Harley-Davidson retailed more than 11,000 motorcycles in 2005. Harley-Davidson first exported motorcycles to Japan in 1912. "Harley-Davidson applauds the agreement that USTR reached with the Government of Vietnam," said Harley-Davidson Vice President of Government Affairs Timothy Hoelter. "The bilateral WTO Accession Agreement opens up important new opportunities for Harley-Davidson in the important Asian region. "Harley-Davidson has proven time and again that an American company, American workers and a great American product can compete abroad, given a more level playing field. With the Vietnam market access agreement, the team at USTR has shown what can be accomplished through persistence and determination. We especially congratulate Ambassador Portman and his colleagues, Ambassador Schwab, Ambassador Bhatia and Assistant USTR Dorothy Dwoskin on this achievement," Hoelter said. In 2005, sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 15 percent internationally over the prior year. International markets account for about 20 percent of the Company's annual motorcycle unit sales. Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the parent company for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Buell Motorcycle Company and Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Inc. Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the only major U.S.-based motorcycle manufacturer, produces heavyweight motorcycles and offers a complete line of motorcycle parts, accessories, apparel, and general merchandise. Buell Motorcycle Company produces sport and sport-touring motorcycles. Harley- Davidson Financial Services, Inc. provides wholesale and retail financing, insurance and credit card programs to Harley-Davidson dealers and customers.RELATED LINKS
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