Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Trump revs up Harley-Davidson fight into second day

Trump revs up Harley-Davidson fight into second day Trump revs up Harley-Davidson fight into second day
Russell Knight | 29 June, 2018, 02:33

The US president tweeted he was surprised that the company had become "the first to wave the white flag", adding: "I fought hard for them". "I wish they wouldn't".

Gov. Scott Walker echoed those comments, saying increasing markets for Wisconsin and American-made goods will reduce the trade imbalance and needs for tariffs.

White House aides say the president feels betrayed by the American manufacturer's decision to move some production offshore to avoid becoming embroiled in Trump's trade war with Europe.

Harley-Davidson will not raise its prices to avert "an immediate and lasting detrimental impact" on sales in Europe, it said.

Scott Walker's full-throttled love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles has been intertwined with his rising political career, but now he must navigate revved up criticism of the Milwaukee-based company from President Donald Trump.

"EU tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles exported from the U.S. have increased from 6 percent to 31 percent", Harley-Davidson said in its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Increasing worldwide production to alleviate the European Union tariff burden is not the company's preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles available to customers in the European Union and maintain a viable business in Europe", the company said.

USA companies that range from boat-builders to nail manufacturers have warned about the consequences of escalating trade tensions.

United Steelworkers, which represents some Harley employees and has supported some of the president's tariff announcements, said it does not know yet how the company's decision will affect USA employment.

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

In a series of caustic early-morning tweets Trump dismissed any notion that his policies were responsible for Harley-Davidson's move. The net loser still remains the USA workers who will no longer be employed and the US economy as a whole.

Besides Thailand, Harley-Davidson has two more assembly plants outside the United States, in Brazil and India.

But it was not immediately clear what he meant, given that Brussels did include motorcycles on its final list of products that were hit with retaliatory tariffs beginning Friday. In January, it said it would consolidate its Kansas City, Missouri, plant into its York, Pennsylvania, facility.

The new plant in Thailand, expected to begin production later this year, will serve customers in Asia.

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Its Kansas City factory closure isn't tied to shifting jobs overseas.

"This will go over like a Vespa at Sturgis". He later added, "The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!"

It's also kind of silly to think that Harley-Davidson is going to import any bikes that it builds overseas into this country.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Harley-Davidson plans to shift the production of some of its bikes out of the U.S. in response to Europe's new tariffs on motorcycle imports.

Workers unpack new motorcycles arriving at a Harley-Davidson showroom in Bangkok on May 15. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

Harley-Davidson's troubles just don't seem to end.

ZARROLI: And Harley-Davidson is a very American company in another way.

Walker and Trump made amends, and the governor past year invited the president to take a ride on a Harley after he canceled a visit to the company's headquarters. During a joint address to Congress in 2017, he said he had just met with officials at the company. House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized Trump administration trade policy after Harley-Davidson's announcement. While the tariffs are imposed by the government, in the end, they're paid by European consumers.

"A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never!"

Charles Payne, host of "Making Money with Charles Payne", said he does not buy the company's reasoning, arguing the plans to shift production were "old news".

As we noted on Monday, Harley-Davidson's announcement was but the latest in what's been a series of moves for the company to downsize its USA manufacturing presence and move its workforce overseas in recent years. Earlier, we spoke to Joe Capra.

On the home front, there are no bigger winners from fair trade than poor and working-class Americans.

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