President Donald Trump has threatened Harley-Davidson, telling the company that it will be “taxed like never before” if the motorcycle maker moves production overseas.
“A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never! Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end – they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!” Trump said in a tweet.
“Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand,” Trump said in another tweet. “That was long before Tariffs were announced. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse.”
Harley said Monday it was moving some production overseas due to increased costs from the EU’s retaliatory tariffs against the Trump administration’s duties on steel and aluminum. No production will be moving to Europe as a result of the tariffs, according to the company. Harley’s overseas manufacturing plants are in Brazil, India, Australia and Thailand.
The company announced in May 2017 it would build a plant in Thailand to better reach the southeast Asian market. CEO Matt Levatich told Bloomberg News in April he made the decision after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement with 11 other nations mostly in Asia.
Producing in Thailand lets Harley avoid the country’s tariff of up to 60 percent on imported motorcycles, and helps the company get tax breaks when exporting to nearby countries, according to Reuters. The company said in January it plans to grow international business to 50 percent of annual volume by 2027.
Meanwhile, Harley is in the process of shutting down a Kansas City factory and transferring operations to York, Pennsylvania. The local union claims at least some of the work is moving to Thailand, while the motorcycle company has denied any link, according to media reports.
Shares fell about 2 percent in Tuesday morning trading after falling nearly 6 percent Monday.