Trump Goes to War with Harley-Davidson

Trump Goes to War with Harley-Davidson

President Donald Trump threatened Harley-Davidson with a “big tax” on Tuesday after the company revealed it was moving production overseas to avoid retaliatory tariffs from the European Union.

In a slew of tweets Tuesday morning, the President also claimed the move could “be the beginning of the end” for the famous motorcycle maker and accused the company of using the tariffs “as an excuse” to move their production operations to Thailand. “Their employees and customers are already very angry at them,” he said.

“Companies are now coming back to America,” Trump tweeted. “Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into U.S.without paying a big tax!”

The president also said this is “the beginning of the end” for the legendary motorcycle manufacturer.

In a regulatory filing Monday, Harley-Davidson said the retaliatory tariffs from the European Union, imposed in response to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, would increase costs by “$2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the E.U.,” totaling to as much as $100 million a year in costs. Harley-Davidson said it did not plan on raising retail or wholesale prices to cover the added costs.

The company said increasing production internationally “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.” Shifting more production abroad will take the company between 9 to 18 months, Harley-Davidson said. The company did not detail how many jobs would be lost or shifted to Thailand as a result. Harley-Davidson sold nearly 40,000 motorcycles in Europe in 2017, according to its annual report.

Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff and 10 percent tariff on steel and aluminum, respectively, in the interest of national security, he has said, and in an effort to promote domestic manufacturing.

The E.U. announced plans to place retaliatory tariffs on US. products like motorcycles, cranberry juice, peanut butter and whiskey in response to Trump’s hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Trump sounded like a jilted lover when he tweeted: “I’ve done so much for you, and then this. Other companies are coming back where they belong! We won’t forget, and neither will your customers or your now very HAPPY competitors!”

It’s not totally clear what the president meant when he said he’s done “so much for” Harley-Davidson.

In his Fox News interview Sunday, Trump dismissed the idea that Harley’s decision had something to do with his tariffs.