"Harley-Davidson should stay 100% in America, with the people that got you your success", Trump tweeted. 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. "Harley must know that they won't be able to sell back into US without paying a big tax!" "We won't forget, and neither will your customers or your now very HAPPY competitors!"
"Harley-Davidson maintains a strong commitment to USA -based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally", the company said Monday.
In an emerging trade war sparked by United States steel and aluminum tariffs on American allies, the European Union responded with levies on a series of American products including motorcycles, bourbon and blue jeans.
As US customers age and loyalty to the brand wanes, Harley-Davidson has been aiming to make up for falling US demand by boosting overseas sales to 50% of annual volume from about 43%. The E.U., Mexico and Canada were initially excluded from the tariffs when Trump announced them in March, but that expired on June 1.
Trump says in tweets Tuesday that the company had already announced it was closing a Kansas City plant. "Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse", Trump said.
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The tweetstorm comes one day after the president said he was "Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the white flag". But many of Harley's motorcycles sold in India are assembled in the country, so they may not be subject to the tariffs anyway.
Trump says he's getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers, and open up closed markets.
Last week, India announced higher duties on several goods imported from the U.S., in retaliation to Trump imposing hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
Michael Pflughoeft, a spokesman for Harley-Davidson, said that the anti-Trump quote linked to the company's chief executive that was circulating on Twitter in various forms was "absolutely, unequivocally fake and false".
Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, also expressed his dismay with Harley-Davidson on Wednesday, saying during remarks at the Treasury Department that Trump has been a big champion of trying to help Harley by reducing tariffs on motorcycles and cutting corporate taxes.