Trump threatens Harley-Davidson with a ‘big tax’ if they move out of the US | Tech News

President Donald Trump speaks briefly to reporters after greeting Harley Davidson executives on the South Lawn of the White House, February 2, 2017

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President Donald Trump speaks briefly to reporters after greeting Harley Davidson executives on the South Lawn of the White House, February 2, 2017
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Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump threatened motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson with a big tax hit if it moved its manufacturing Thailand.
  • He also accused them of using the tariffs as an excuse to leave the US.
  • But Harley actually started its Thailand factory as a result of another Trump policy – his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

President Donald Trump has threatened motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson with a big tax hit if it moves its manufacturing to Thailand, while also accusing them of using new trade tariffs as an excuse to leave the US.

“Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand. That was long before Tariffs were announced. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse,” Trump tweeted.

Harley announced Monday that because of the European Union’s new tariffs on US motorcycles -retaliation for Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs – the company was shifting some production to non-US plants.

Later that day Trump said the company was waving the “white flag” and surrendering after he had praised the company numerous times and invited its executives to the White House.

“When I had Harley-Davidson officials over to the White House, I chided them about tariffs in other countries, like India, being too high. Companies are now coming back to America. Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax!” Trump continued.

According to the company, the EU’s new tariffs will increase the cost of a motorcycle shipped from the US to Europe by $2,200. To avoid this cost, the company will shift to countries where there are lower or no tariffs. Harley maintains facilities in Australia, Brazil, India, and Thailand.

Economists said Harley’s decision to shift production outside of the US is a predictable result of Trump’s increased trade restrictions and, likely a sign of things to come.

But Trump may be mistaken about the company’s Thailand plant. Harley said it decided to build the Thailand plant after Trump pulled out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have lowered import tariffs on its bikes in some of the fastest-growing motorcycle markets in Asia.

Trump remained focused on the most recent round of tariffs, insisting that Europe had “long taken advantage of” the US, but that: “In the end it will all even out – and it won’t take very long!”

Bob Bryan and Reuters contributed to this report.

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