U.S. President Donald Trump accused motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc on Tuesday of using trade tensions over tariffs as an excuse to move production for European customers overseas. "If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end - they surrendered, they quit!"
"Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag", Trump tweeted Monday as he departed for a campaign trip to SC.
The American motorcycle maker sells almost 40,000 new motorcycles a year in Europe, which accounts for 16 percent of the company's overall sales and is the biggest market for it outside of the US.
The EU last week began slapping tariffs on American imports like bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice.
"Good luck to Republicans running on the Trump tariffs in November", the editorial board wrote in a new op-ed. The EU tariffs on $3.4 billion worth of USA products are retaliation for duties the Trump administration is imposing on European steel and aluminum.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump's trade policies Monday during a press briefing.
"I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the European Union, which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion".
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Trump tweeted Monday that he's surprised that Harley-Davidson was first "to wave the White Flag" in the tariff dispute between the USA and the European Union. Trump has said he will follow through on these tariffs unless European leaders agree to remove tariffs they have on US auto imports, but so far Europe's leaders have mostly shown signs of meeting Trump's tariffs with tariffs of their own. Harley-Davidson employs more than 6,000 people globally.
The company is facing an estimated $30 to $45 million in costs in 2018 due to the tariffs, which were brought on by President Donald Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs. To avoid this cost, the company will shift to countries where there are lower or no tariffs. The EU sales make up nearly 16.4 percent of Harley-Davidson's worldwide sales. "Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse", Trump said on Twitter. Martinez added. "Does Harley even understand what "Made in America" means?"
On Monday, Mr Trump said the iconic maker of motorcycles had waved the "White Flag" after he had fought hard for the company.
These European Union tariffs against specific USA products was meant as retaliation for Trump's imposition of tariffs against steel and aluminum imports from the European Union. "They must play fair or they will pay tariffs!" he said in the post.
Meanwhile, the maker of Jack Daniel's, Brown-Forman Corp., said Monday it would have to raise the price of its product sold in the European Union because of the tariff hike, Bloomberg reported.
In another tweet aimed at Brussels, Mr Trump warned the European Union that the U.S. was close to concluding a study on tariffs on auto imports. "They're tax increases on Americans, they don't work, and apparently we're going to see more of this".