Trump calls out Harley-Davidson and warns companies about boycotting the US

President Donald Trump has called out Harley-Davidson once again and warns other boycotting companies that moving overseas is a ‘bad move’.

Trump used Harley-Davidson as his example Sunday morning when he blasted companies that have threatened to move their businesses out of the US.

‘Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great!’ Trump tweeted. 

‘Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! US will soon have a level playing field, or better,’ he added. 

Harley-Davidson announced in June that it planned to shift some manufacturing of its iconic motorcycles overseas to avoid retaliatory European tariffs.

The European Union hit the American motorcycle giant with duties of 31 per cent, up from six per cent, boosting the cost to EU consumers by about $2,200.

The EU targeted the US vehicles as part of its rebuttal to Trump’s tariffs on imported aluminum and steel, one aspect of his multi-front trade war.

At the time, Harley-Davidson said that the company ‘maintains a strong commitment to US-based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally’.

‘Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company’s preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe.’ 

Not wanting to dent sales in key EU markets, the company will ‘bear the significant impact resulting from these tariffs,’ which will add an estimated $30 to $45million in costs for the remainder of 2018 and $90 to $100million annually.

Moving production to overseas factories is expected to require nine to 18 months, so in the near-term Harley-Davidson will absorb the costs of EU tariffs, the company said in a regulatory notice.

Europe is Harley-Davidson’s second biggest market after the US. The company reported $521.8million in earnings in 2017 on $5.6billion in revenue.

Executives in Harley-Davidson were among the first to visit the White House in February 2017 shortly after Trump took office.

Trump praised Harley-Davidson as an ‘American icon, one of the greats’ and expressed confidence the company would expand US manufacturing under his administration.

But that status made the company a target for EU retaliation, along with bourbon and blue jeans.

The products have ‘a strong symbolic political impact,’ said European Commission Vice President for trade Jyrki Katainen.

‘I am confident that the exchanges we have had with my new counterpart, Liu He, have been useful in paving the way towards a successful EU-China Summit in the economic and trade field,’ Katainen said in a press release at the time.

‘I am particularly pleased with the progress achieved in our investment negotiations and look forward to an exchange of offers at the Summit.’


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