President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on Harley-Davidson on Tuesday, threatening to tax the company for offshoring manufacturing and saying the iconic American motorcycles should "never" be built outside the United States.
"Harley-Davidson should stay 100% in America, with the people that got you your success", Mr Trump said in the tweet on Wednesday. Trump went on to say "When I had Harley-Davidson officials over to the White House, I chided them about tariffs in other countries, like India, being too high". The EU raised an existing tariff it had on the company's motorcycles by nearly five times in retaliation for the U.S.' tariffs on EU aluminum and steel.
Michael Pflughoeft, a spokesman for Milwaukee-based Harley, declined to comment on Trump's latest tweet. But company spokesman Michael Pflughoeft said it was assessing the potential impact of the production shift on its US facilities.
Harley said Monday it's moving the production of motorcycles destined for Europe to factories in Thailand, India and Brazil in response to the European Union slapping a 31 percent tariff on motorcycles made in the U.S.
According to Harley-Davidson, the move "is not the company's preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the European Union and maintain a viable business in Europe".
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It follows a proposed plan by Harley-Davidson to move some of its production overseas.
Asked if Trump still feels that tariffs are the best option, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Monday that "the European Union is attempting to punish USA workers with unfair and discriminatory trade policies, and President Trump will continue to push for free, fair and reciprocal trade in hopes that the EU will join is in that".
Says Trump: "That was long before Tariffs were announced".
Harley-Davidson announced in January it would close its Kansas City, Missouri assembly plant and consolidate jobs in York, Pennsylvania. The company has said ramping up production overseas could take at least nine to 18 months. "Now they are trying to use the tariffs to excuse and deflect from that decision".
Harley-Davidson executives met with President Trump at the White House previous year after President Trump canceled a visit to the company's headquarters in Milwaukee because protests had been planned. "I don't like that, because I've been very good with Harley-Davidson", Trump said.