Trump revs up Harley-Davidson fight into second day

Dwayne Harmon
June 26, 2018

"Harley-Davidson will not raise its manufacturer's suggested retail prices or wholesale prices to its dealers to cover the costs of the retaliatory tariffs", the company stated in the SEC notice, adding, "To address the substantial cost of this tariff burden long-term, Harley-Davidson will be implementing a plan to shift production of motorcycles for European Union destinations from the U.S.to its worldwide facilities to avoid the tariff burden".

"Trump tweeted ".We are getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers that have been unfairly used for years against our farmers, workers and companies.

The president followed up by warning the company that goods produced overseas and imported back into the USA could be taxed.

"The European Union is attempting to punish USA workers with unfair and discriminatory trade policies, and President Trump will continue to push for free, fair and reciprocal trade in hopes that the EU will join us in that", Sanders told reporters at the White House. The EU tariffs on $3.4 billion worth of US products are retaliation for duties the Trump administration is imposing on European steel and aluminum.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse placed the blame for Harley-Davidson's partial relocation squarely on Trump's shoulders.

Trump tweeted "A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never!"

"Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag", Trump tweeted, adding that he fought hard for them and insisted that "ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the European Union". It will instead absorb a significant amount of the cost in the near term.

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.

Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich said in April that the factory in Thailand was a "Plan B" that Harley employed after the US abandoned the 11-country Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement Trump withdrew from a year ago.

Harley-Davidson won't face any additional tariffs in India, as had been previously rumored. That will add an estimated $90 million to $100 million in costs annually.

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The impact on US workers because of Harley-Davidson's decision was not immediately clear.

Trump, in March, instituted a tariff of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports.

Rather than creating jobs, the 115-year-old company was reducing its workforce in its home market.

"Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand".

They did not say which countries production will be moved to.

The company said it will take a hit of $30 million to $45 million for the rest of this year.

"Trump tweeted ".We are finishing our study of Tariffs on cars from the E.U.in that they have long taken advantage of the U.S.in the form of Trade Barriers and Tariffs.

In the filing, Harley Davidson says they chose to move production because the cost increase "would have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business in the region".

One could have felt bad for Trump had he not been the one who caused the disruptions in the first place.

Harley-Davidson on Monday announced the company would move production of European-sold motorcycles overseas to avoid the increased tariffs imposed on American imports. Companies will go where they get a chance to make money, fake nationalism be damned.

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