Trump revs up attacks on Harley-Davidson over production move

Dwayne Harmon
June 28, 2018

The factory in Thailand, which will open later this year, would let Harley-Davidson avoid the country's up to 60 percent tariffs on imported motorcycles and help it get tax breaks while exporting to neighboring countries, according to the company.

Why is Harley-Davidson making this change?

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that Harley-Davidson had already announced it was closing a Kansas City plant and moving those jobs to Thailand. S&P says the tariffs could lead to profit margin deterioration and increased risks when combined with falling retail sales and shipments. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end - they surrendered, they quit! Taxes that the European Union has slapped on its bikes in reaction to Trump's steel and aluminum levies will cost the company as much as $100 million a year. He added: "The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!"

"We don't want to punish, but that is the unfortunate effect, that (US companies) will put pressure on the American administration to say hey, hold on a minute, this is not good for the American economy", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Tuesday.

"When I had Harley-Davidson officials over to the White House, I chided them about tariffs in other countries, like India, being too high".

"A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never!" he said earlier on Twitter.

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Soon after the company's announcement, Trump weighed in with typical bombast.

The tweetstorm comes one day after the president said he was "Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the white flag". According to Bloomberg, Harley's US sales have dropped every quarter since Q1 2015.

"Harley-Davidson is using that as an excuse, and I don't like that because I've been very good to Harley-Davidson and they used it as an excuse", he said in response. "Taxes just a Harley excuse - be patient!"

Trump wrote yesterday that Harley "should stay 100 per cent in America", in another missive aimed at a company that announced plans this week to shift production out of the United States to avoid retaliatory tariffs.

The president has repeatedly attacked Amazon.com Inc over what he sees as its unfair treatment of the U.S. Postal Service, and he has complained about the high costs of Boeing Co's replacements for Air Force One aircraft, urging the federal government to cancel the order.

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