"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", said Robert Martinez Jr., president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
President Donald Trump opened up on Harley-Davidson in a series of tweets Tuesday, warning the iconic motorcycle manufacturer that if it moves some production overseas, "it will be the beginning of the end".
Harley says it stands to lose as much as $100 million a year from new European Union taxes on motorcycles that it would ship from the United States.
In January, the company said it was closing a factory in Kansas City, Missouri, and consolidating it into a York assembly plant. "That was long before Tariffs were announced", he wrote. "Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse". He threatened to hit the company with an unspecified tax if it attempted to sell motorcycles made outside the US back into the country.
The president has held up the iconic American motorcycle maker as an example of a USA business harmed by trade barriers in other countries, but Harley-Davidson had warned that tariffs could negatively impact its sales. Companies are now coming back to America. "Harley must know that they won't be able to sell back into USA without paying a big tax!"
"A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never!" The EU tariff comes In response to the United States implementing a tax on aluminum and steel to several countries, including EU nations.
It follows Brussels decision to retaliate against Mr Trump's tariffs.
The EU is imposing tariffs on $3.2 billion worth of American goods, including motorcycles, orange juice, bourbon, peanut butter, motorboats, cigarettes and denim.
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But the controversy raging over the issue has persuaded many lawmakers they have to look like they are addressing the subject now. However, he defended his policy, pointing out former President Barack Obama had similar policies enforced when he was in office.
Harley-Davidson Inc. sold nearly 40,000 motorcycles in the European Union a year ago, its second-largest market after the United States, according to the company.
Wisconsin's elected leaders said the decision pointed to the need to expand markets. He has suggested slapping a 25% levy on European Union auto imports. In the end it will all even out - and it won't take very long!
In another tweet, Trump said the company could face a "big tax".
"Trump tweeted ".We are finishing our study of Tariffs on cars from the E.U.in that they have long taken advantage of the U.S.in the form of Trade Barriers and Tariffs. "Taxes just an excuse - be patient!"
Unfazed by Trump's criticism, Harley-Davidson suggested it had no other choice after the European Union hit USA motorcycles with duties of 31 percent last Friday, up from just 6 percent, boosting the cost to EU consumers by about $2,200 (€1,800).
Harley-Davidson announced it will move some production of European motorcycles to the EU to avoid tariffs.
"It believes that works out to be about $2,200 (£1,650) per bike it exports from the USA to the EU". Harley-Davidson will instead absorb the cost and estimates in the short term "incremental cost for the remainder of 2018 to be approximately $30 to $45 million". The EU has responded in kind, levying a tariff on several American products.