Trump Threatens Harley-Davidson Over Plan To Shift Some Production Overseas

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The relationship between Trump and Harley-Davidson has gone from a love affair to a bad breakup in a matter of months. The EU's hike in tariffs was introduced as a retaliatory move in reply to Trump's price hike on imported aluminium and steel into the US. It was unclear what the president was referring to or how he could impose taxes on a single company. Now the European Union has chose to target Harley for increased tariffs in response to Trump's trade war.

Michael Pflughoeft, a spokesman for Milwaukee-based Harley, declined to comment on Trump's latest tweet.

"What I would like to do and what I offered at the G7, you remember, I said let's drop all tariffs and all barriers", he said.

Earlier in the trade battle, Trump cited India's high tariffs on imported motorcycles as an example of why tougher trade policy was necessary.

In January, Harley-Davidson said it would close a plant in Kansas City, Missouri, due to a sharp drop in USA demand for its motorcycles, but said it would consolidate work done there into its plant in York, Pennsylvania. "Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson". Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse.

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Trump tweeted Tuesday that Harley-Davidson had already announced it was closing a Kansas City plant and moving those jobs to Thailand.

As U.S. customers age and loyalty to the brand wanes, Harley-Davidson has been aiming to make up for falling U.S. demand by boosting overseas sales to 50 percent of annual volume from about 43 percent.

According to Harley-Davidson, the move "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". If they move, watch it, it will be the beginning of the end.

Harley-Davidson executives met with President Trump at the White House past year after President Trump canceled a visit to the company's headquarters in Milwaukee because protests had been planned.

Trump criticized Harley-Davidson on Twitter, saying the overseas move upset employees and customers, and would be bad for the company's long-term prospects. "I understand that the President is a tough negotiator, but I urge him to consider a more targeted approach that protects American workers and businesses".

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