Economy

Trump threatens Harley-Davidson with a 'big tax'

Trump threatens Harley-Davidson with a 'big tax'

Harley, which sold almost 40,000 motorcycles in Europe a year ago, said it planned to absorb those costs rather than pass them onto customers and risk hurting sales.

The idea of Harley-Davidson sending jobs overseas doesn't sit well with many, including some union officials, motorcycle owners and even President Donald Trump.

In response to the USA tariffs, the European Union began charging import duties of 25 percent on a range of US products including big motorcycles like Harley's on June 22.

Iconic motorcycle maker accused by Trump of "waving the white flag" after it announced plans to move some of its production out of the US. "Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse", Trump said.

The Milwaukee-based company said on Monday it came to its decision because of retaliatory tariffs it faces in an escalating trade dispute between the USA and the European Union. Trump also seems to be unaware that Harley Davidson's entry into India was part of a mangoes-for-motorcycles deal between George Bush and Manmohan Singh, premised on Washington allowing important of Indian mangoes to the U.S., a trade that has been mired in bureaucratic red tape.

According to the company, the EU's new tariffs will increase the cost of a motorcycle shipped from the USA to Europe by $US2,200.

"The tremendous cost increase, if passed onto its dealers and retail customers, would have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business in the region", the company said.

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Last fall, Ryan traveled to Harley-Davidson headquarters in his home state to tout how the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker and other companies would experience lower taxes from the historic GOP tax-cuts law.

Harley-Davidson announced in January it would close its Kansas City, Missouri assembly plant and consolidate jobs in York, Pennsylvania.

Economists said Harley's decision to shift production outside of the U.S. is an expected result of Trump's increased trade restrictions and likely is a sign of things to come.

The Thailand plant had no connection with the closure of the Kansas City facility, Harley-Davidson Chief Executive Matt Levatich told Reuters in an interview in February.

Harley-Davidson already manufactures in India, according to James Hardiman of Wedbush Securities.

In his series of tweets on Tuesday, Trump acknowledged that there is now a trade war breaking out and urged US corporations to show patience.

Harley-Davidson says the shift to overseas production will take nine to 18 months to complete.

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Europe is becoming more important to the company as United States sales slump.

It is worth mentioning that Harley could make the decision to shift production because it had chosen, in 2017, to open a new manufacturing plant in Thailand.

"I think the people who ride Harleys aren't happy with Harley-Davidson and I wouldn't be either, " says Trump. Harley-Davidson's preference is to manufacture within the US, but believed shifting some production "was its only sustainable choice to continue serving the EU", Wedbush's Hardiman wrote.

Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson said the increased costs from the European Union tariffs were a "substantial" burden and a threat to its global sales, which it has been trying to expand. Since then, he's increased tariffs on the EU, Mexico, Canada and China, and promised additional fees in response to any retaliation.

"President Trump will continue to push for free, fair and reciprocal trade, in hopes that the European Union will join us", Ms Sanders said.

President Donald Trump spent part of Tuesday morning tweeting about Harley-Davidson, specifically calling out the motorcycle giant's plant in Kansas City.

The same day, Trump reiterated his intention to slap new tariffs on European cars and announced a specific number: 20 percent.

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