Donald Trump criticises Harley-Davidson for decision over tariffs

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Donald Trump criticises Harley-Davidson for decision over tariffs

USA companies that range from boat-builders to nail manufacturers have warned about the consequences of escalating trade tensions.

Mr Trump had made raising manufacturing employment a goal, but economists warn that the escalating trade tensions are likely to be counter-productive.

Trump took to twitter to express his criticism and stated "Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag".

Harley-Davidson said that shifting targeted production from the U.S.to global facilities could take at least nine to 18 months to be completed. "There's a lot of irony here, to put it mildly". The Associated Press reports that the new tariff on imported American motorcycles jumped from 6 percent to 31 percent, which translates to an added cost of about $2,200 per bike, according to a regulatory filing from Harley.

Harley didn't specify which worldwide plants will boost output for European Union markets.

Harley-Davidson's move is some of the most direct evidence yet that tit-for-tat trade fights between the United States and other countries have consequences for American companies.

The company does not have any manufacturing facility in Europe. 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. Such risks and uncertainties include the following, among other factors: (i) uncertainties regarding the quantity and mix of motorcycles that the company exports from the US during the periods in question; (ii) uncertainties regarding the import prices of motorcycles; (iii) whether the European Union tariffs apply to shipments that had already commenced at the effective time of the tariffs; (iv) uncertain timing associated with shifting production from the U.S.to global facilities; and (v) uncertainties regarding the size and duration of European Union tariffs. Harley-Davidson's U.S. bike revenue dropped 8.5% a year ago from 2016, but only 0.4% in Europe.

In a regulatory filing, Harley-Davidson said: "To address the substantial cost of this tariff burden long-term, Harley-Davidson will be implementing a plan to shift production of motorcycles for European Union destinations from the United States to its global facilities to avoid the tariff burden".

Harley-Davidson's stock fell 5% on Monday.

"The European Union is attempting to punish United States workers with unfair and discriminatory trade policies, and President Trump will continue to push for free, fair and reciprocal trade in hopes that the EU will join us in that", Sanders told reporters at the White House. Trump withdrew from the long-planned trade pact in January 2017.

Mr Trump vowed to make the iconic motorcycle maker great again when he took office a year ago.

More potential pitfalls for Harley-Davidson and other US manufacturers could be on the way.

A US motorcycle sales slump has deepened since then, spurring Harley's decision in January to close a plant in Kansas City, Missouri, eliminating about 260 jobs.

In response to the USA tariffs, the European Union began charging import duties of 25% on a range of United States products, including big motorcycles like Harley's.

"Harley-Davidson's announcement today is the latest slap in the face to the loyal, highly-skilled workforce that made Harley an iconic American brand", Robert Martinez Jr., president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said in a statement.

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