Published: Tue, June 26, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

Trump warns Harley-Davidson against moving production out of the US

Trump warns Harley-Davidson against moving production out of the US

President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened the iconic motorcycle company Harley-Davidson with severe taxes and a public revolt that would eventually put the 115-year-old firm out of business, blasting the Wisconsin firm for a plan to move some operations outside the U.S.as a way to avoid getting caught in the middle of an escalating trade war. "If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end - they surrendered, they quit!", the president wrote on his account.

In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said their tariffs increased from 6% to 31%, which would cost customers approximately $2,200 per average motorcycle built in the U.S. and sent to Europe. Trump tweeted early Tuesday, after suggesting Monday that "taxes" were "just a Harley excuse", urging the company to "be patient!" He could be referring to the tariffs he is attempting to unilaterally impose on foreign imports.

"Good luck to Republicans running on the Trump tariffs in November", the editorial board wrote in a new op-ed.

A group from Harley-Davidson met with Trump at the White House previous year.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greet Harley Davidson President and CEO Matthew S. Levatich on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington in February, 2017.

"I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the European Union, which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion. Harley must know that they won't be able to sell back into US without paying a big tax!", he said.

"Increasing worldwide production to alleviate the European Union tariff burden is not the company's preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the European Union and maintain a viable business in Europe", the company said in its prepared remarks.

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Harley-Davidson Inc. sold nearly 40,000 motorcycles in the European Union a year ago, its second-largest market after the United States, according to the company.

Harley acknowledged it has already been moving some production abroad, but it says moving more production overseas is its "only sustainable option" in the wake of the growing trade war.

"Will Harley use any excuse to ship jobs overseas?" This happened even as Trump was picking fights on its behalf with every country he could find on the map.

"Harley-Davidson's announcement today is the latest slap in the face to the loyal, highly-skilled workforce that made Harley an iconic American brand", Robert Martinez Jr., president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said in a statement.

These European Union tariffs against specific US products was meant as retaliation for Trump's imposition of tariffs against steel and aluminum imports from the European Union.

Lovely said Harley and other companies face retaliatory tariffs in Europe and elsewhere if they try to export products. Trump said in a post on Twitter on Monday night. "They're tax increases on Americans, they don't work, and apparently we're going to see more of this".

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