Trump says Harley-Davidson's planned overseas move will be its 'end'

26 June, 2018, 17:45 | Author: Sally Reid
  • Harley-Davidson Will Shift Manufacturing Overseas To Avoid Tariffs

Harley-Davidson announced in January plans to shutter a Kansas City, Missouri, assembly plant, citing market conditions, about a month before Trump said he'd move forward on threats to implement tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel.

President Donald Trump continued tweeting about his disappointment with Harley Davidson Tuesday morning, one day after the company announced plans to begin shifting the production of motorcycles meant for Europe from the United States to factories overseas.

The filing made no mention on the impact this would have on jobs for current Harley-Davidson employees in the US, but noted that "Harley-Davidson will provide more details of the financial implications and plans to mitigate the impact of retaliatory European Union tariffs during the company's second quarter earnings conference call on July 24, 2018, at 8:00AM CDT".

The EU's tariff on motorcycles spiked sharply from 6% to 31%, with Harley-Davidson predicting a cost increase of approximately $2,200 per motorcycle exported from the the EU. By moving production overseas, Harley-Davidson will avoid the global tariffs. "On a full-year basis, the company estimates the aggregate annual impact due to the European Union tariffs to be approximately $90 to $100 million".

"Harley-Davidson's announcement today is the latest slap in the face to the loyal, highly-skilled workforce that made Harley an iconic American brand", Robert Martinez Jr., president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said in a statement. He also threatened Harley that if they don't reverse their decision, they would face harsh consequences.

Some analysts expect to see more instances of company shifts when the second-quarter earnings season kicks off next month. "Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse", Trump said on Twitter.

Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich said in April that the factory in Thailand was a "Plan B" that Harley employed after the US abandoned the 11-country Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement Trump withdrew from previous year. "Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it...."

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But Mr. Trump says Harley is using the tariff tiff as an excuse.

Trump said he's getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers, and to open up markets.

The company's announcement sparked a massive selloff in the stock market amid fears that other companies might follow suit, anxious about getting caught in the middle of Trump's trade war with Europe, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, and possibly India. "They must play fair or they will pay tariffs!"

Americans are buying fewer motorcycles, people outside the United States are buying more, and Harley wants to build bikes closer to its worldwide customers. The EU is the company's second-largest market to the US -selling nearly 40,000 motorcycles a year ago.

In another tweet aimed at Brussels, Mr Trump warned the European Union that the United States was close to concluding a study on tariffs on vehicle imports.

Trump, in March, instituted a tariff of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports.

The EU recently imposed retaliatory tariffs on $3.2 billion worth of United States goods, including motorcycles, bourbon, motorboats and cigarettes.


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