Trump says Harley’s problems aren’t his fault

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is denying that his trade policy is responsible for Harley-Davidson’s (HOG) decision to shift some motorcycle production overseas.

The company says it’s doing so because of tariffs it’s facing in a trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union. EU tariffs on Harley’s motorcycles exported from the U.S. have surged from 6 percent to 31 percent, as the EU retaliates for tariffs the U.S. has imposed on European steel and aluminum imports to the U.S.

But Mr. Trump says Harley is using the tariff tiff as an excuse.

The president said in tweets Tuesday that the company had already announced it was closing a Kansas City plant. Union officials have said those jobs are going to Thailand. Harley-Davidson has denied that.

“In the near-term, the company will bear the significant impact resulting from these tariffs, and the company estimates the incremental cost for the remainder of 2018 to be approximately $30 to $45 million,” Harley said in a regulatory filing.

But Mr. Trump responded that Harley had decided to relocate some production “long before Tariffs were announced. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse. Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it ….”

Mr. Trump said he’s getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers, and open up closed markets.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders complained during a press briefing that the European Union “is trying to punish U.S. workers” by increasing tariffs on American-made products. She accused the EU of repeatedly engaging “in unfair trade practices” and that Trump is saying “enough is enough.”

The president also tweeted on Tuesday morning: “A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never! Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end – they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!”

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