President Trump Supports Harley-Davidson Boycott
WASHINGTON — August 14, 2018
President Donald Trump said it's "Great" that consumers might boycott Harley-Davidson if it moves some motorcycle production overseas.
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
Trump announced his view after a meeting with dozens "Bikers for Trump" supporters at his golf club in Bedminister, New Jersey this weekend.
It started when Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports earlier this year, which are respectively 25 and 10 percent higher, in an effort to bolster domestic manufacturing. Starting on June 22, the duty on imports of American-made motorcycles by Harley-Davidson increased from 6 to 31%. The European Union responded by pledging to raise tariffs on a list of goods that are imported from the United States, including Harley motorcycles.
The tensions between the Trump administration and Harley-Davidson has been brewing for months. “The best thing to do is focus on a trade policy that gets us to no tariffs”, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said on the subject.
As a result of the disputes, American demand for motorcycles has waned while foreign interest has grown. As we reported earlier, Harley's sales have been declining for four years in a row – and this started before Trump even announced his run for president.
Harley said it stands to lose as much as $100 million a year, and the company pledged to shift some of its production abroad because of Trump's tariff fight with the European Union.
In a tweet Tuesday, the President went after Harley for the fourth time in just over a week.
Now that Harley-Davidson is moving part of its operation out of the U.S., my Administration is working with other Motor Cycle companies who want to move into the U.S. Harley customers are not happy with their move - sales are down 7% in 2017. The U.S. is where the Action is!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2018
Trump accused Harley of using the European retaliatory tariffs as "an excuse" for moving manufacturing abroad.
Harley acknowledged it already had been moving some production abroad, but said moving more production overseas was the "only sustainable option" in the face of a trade war.
“I am not happy about it at all. Harley is an American-made bike. I used to work there. I don’t think this is right at all," Steve Klabunde, a long time rider, said. “I’m looking at an Indian now.”
“I am hoping that is really the truth, that they are not taking things overseas, but what they do take overseas is what they will sell over there. Production will stay here," Cheryl Tillery said during the visit the Harley Museum Monday.