Donald Trump outraged by plan to move Harley-Davidson production abroad

27 June 2018

Donald Trump outraged by plan to move Harley-Davidson production abroad

US President Donald Trump has voiced strong opposition to Harley-Davidson motorcycles being built abroad, saying that the company’s plan to move some production overseas to avoid European tariffs is the “beginning of the end”.

Harley-Davidson’s proposed shift of production from the US to Europe is due to spiralling costs imposed by European Union tariffs.

Mr Trump expressed his outrage about the move on Twitter on Tuesday.

Last year Mr Trump promised to make the iconic motorcycle manufacturer great again when he took office, meeting company executives in the White House and and thanking them for “building things for America.”

But since Mr Trump’s vow the company has been dramatically impacted by the President’s trade policy, which has seen Harley-Davidson carefully counting costs.

The company has constantly warned against imposing tariffs, saying that they would negatively impact sales.

But on Friday the EU started implementing tariffs on American imports such as bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice.

The EU tariffs on $3.4 billion USD ($4.6 billion AUD) worth of American products is a retaliation to Mr Trump’s administration enforcing tariffs on European aluminium and steel.

Harley-Davidson forecasts that the EU’s retaliatory tariffs will cost the company between $90 million and $100 million USD ($121 million to $135 million AUD) a year.

A spokesperson for Harley-Davidson said in a prepared statement: “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.”

“Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson,” they said.

Harley-Davidson sold almost 400,000 motorcycles in the EU last year, its most profitable market after the US.