Focusing only on the short-term pain tariffs can bring to Americans caught in a trade war skirmish, motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson is moving a factory to Europe to avoid European Union tariffs on motorcycles that came in response to Trump’s tariffs on foreign aluminum and steel.
That move has sparked a boycott of Harley by some American bikers, who appear to have Trump’s support in their stance against the storied American company.
Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2018
Bikers for Trump
The Hill reported that Trump’s tweet came the day after he hosted a gathering of the group “Bikers for Trump” at his Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey on Saturday.
Bikers for Trump at Bedminster earlier today. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/GWN56gYGT3
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2018
Part of the discussion among some of those bikers revolved around their great dissatisfaction at Harley-Davidson’s decision to shift some of its manufacturing over to Europe to avoid new European tariffs that were levied in response to Trump’s initial round of tariffs on manufacturing materials like aluminum and steel.
According to Fortune, the move by Harley-Davidson will involve only those motorcycles that were destined for sale in Europe already, and was only due to the retaliatory EU tariffs that would have added roughly $2,200 to the cost of a Harley shipped to Europe.
The company vowed to not sell any of their foreign-built bikes in the U.S.
True American icon
President Trump had lauded Harley-Davidson earlier in his presidency as a “true American icon” and praised them for keeping manufacturing jobs in America.
But then the tariffs and counter-tariffs of the trade war began to be imposed, and Harley-Davidson caved to the pressure and announced the shift of some production to Europe to avoid the increased financial burdens.
It remains to be seen how large or effective a boycott of Harley-Davidson by America bikers would be, or exactly what such a boycott would even look like, but it is obvious that many bikers are less-than-thrilled by Harley’s move — a view that is apparently shared by the president.
It should go without saying that a typical U.S. president would studiously avoid becoming involved in any sort of boycott effort against an American company, but then again, Trump is no typical president — and these are not typical times.
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