United States President Donald Trump on Monday criticised bike manufacturing company Harley-Davidson for shifting some of its production units out of the country in response to Europe’s new tariffs on motorcycle imports.
“Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the white flag,” Trump tweeted. “I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the EU, which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 billion. Taxes just a Harley excuse – be patient!”
The company told the US Securities and Exchange Commission that the European Union’s reaction to Trump’s steel tariffs, which will add $2,200 (Rs 1.5 lakh) to the average cost of a motorcycle exported from the United States to Europe, will cost it up to $100 million (Rs 682 crore) more over the next two years.
The company, however, said it would maintain a strong commitment to US-based manufacturing that riders value. “Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden isn’t the company’s preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe,” Harley-Davidson said.
The company said ramping up production in international plants would require incremental investment and could take at least nine to 18 months to be fully complete.
The decision is a blow to the Trump administration, which has defended its decision to impose tariffs on the European Union as part of a strategy to boost jobs in the US. On June 23, Trump threatened to impose a 20% tariff on the import of cars assembled in the European Union after the bloc increased trade barriers on goods worth $3.2 billion (Rs 21,816 crore) imported from the United States.
In February, Trump criticised India, saying America was “getting nothing” from New Delhi’s announcement that it had slashed import duty on Harley Davidson motorbikes to 50%. Last week, New Delhi announced higher duties on several goods imported from the United States, in retaliation to Trump’s decision to raise tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.