Trump says Harley-Davidson's problems aren't his fault

Harley workers are first casualties in trade war

U.S. President Donald Trump accused motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc on Tuesday of using trade tensions over tariffs as an excuse to move production for European customers overseas.

The President also predicted the company's demise - "they surrendered, they quit!" - and said their "Aura will be gone".

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson said it had made a decision to build the plant in Thailand after Mr Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have slashed import tariffs.

In his Tuesday morning series of Twitter posts, Trump wrote that "Harley must know that they won't be able to sell back into the USA without paying a big tax!". He could be referring to the tariffs he is attempting to unilaterally impose on foreign imports.

"That was long before Tariffs were announced", Trump said.

The Milwaukee-based company said Monday it came to its decision because of retaliatory tariffs it faces in an escalating trade dispute between the USA and the European Union.

In the early weeks of his presidency, Trump invited Harley executives and union representatives to the White House where he showcased motorcycles that were parked on the South Lawn.

"I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the European Union, which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion".

Deport Without ‘Judges Or Court Cases’
President Donald Trump spoke during a roundtable at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday. Trump said during a round-table discussion in May.


White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump's trade policies Monday during a press briefing. Harley-Davidson declined interview requests Monday but said in prepared remarks that the company "maintains a strong commitment to US -based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally".

Americans are buying fewer motorcycles, people outside the United States are buying more, and Harley wants to build bikes closer to its global customers.

The company said in a government filing Monday that it may locate some production outside the U.S.in response to European retaliation for the president's tariffs on imported metals.

The move comes against the backdrop of already slumping sales for Harley. But Trump says that's just an excuse. Trump said in a series of tweets Tuesday morning.

"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.

"That means we have to make America the best country on Earth to do business, and that's what we're in the process of doing".

Brussels imposed tariffs on a range of US-made products, including cosmetics, whiskey and cranberry juice, after Mr Trump imposed extra taxes on European Union steel and aluminum.

On Monday, Mr Trump said the iconic maker of motorcycles had waved the "White Flag" after he had fought hard for the company. Trump's tariffs also raise costs on imported parts they need to manufacture in the United States. Trump said on Twitter Tuesday. We are opening up closed markets and expanding our footprint.

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