Trump Encourages Planned Boycott Against Harley-Davidson Amid Tariff Dispute

August 12, 2018 Updated: August 12, 2018

President Donald Trump welcomed a boycott planned by Harley-Davidson owners, calling the move “great,” in response to recent announcements that the motorcycle company intends to move some of its operations overseas.

Trump made the comments in an Aug. 12 post on Twitter following an event at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, that was attended by “hundreds” from the group “Bikers for Trump” on Aug. 11.

“Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great!” Trump wrote on Aug. 12. “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.”

Supporters focus on US President Donald Trump during a “Bikers for Trump” event at the Trump National Golf Club on Aug. 11, 2018, in Bedminster, New Jersey. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The iconic manufacturer, known historically for being made in America, said it’s planning to shift the production of motorcycles to overseas factories, after the European Union raised tariffs on the company’s motorcycles in June to 31 percent from 6 percent as a countermeasure to Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The retaliatory tariffs essentially raise the cost of each motorcycle by $2,200, according to Harley-Davidson. But the company said in a regulatory filing that it doesn’t plan to increase prices as it adjusts.

Trump previously criticized the Wisconsin-based company in June, calling their announcements an “excuse” to justify previously planned manufacturing changes. His administration has battled against eliminating tariffs and trade barriers that harm the interests of the United States.

“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. Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it,” he said.

When calculating the full-year impact from the EU tariffs, Harley Davidson, which employs more than 6,000 people worldwide, said it estimates the amount to be approximately $90 million to $100 million. The company defended its decision in a previous filing, calling it the only sustainable option.

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Trump imposed the tariffs in response to years of unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft by the communist regime.

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