Harley, stung by tariffs, shifts some production overseas
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Production of Harley-Davidson motorcycles sold in Europe will move from U.S. factories to facilities overseas, the Milwaukee-based company announced today, a consequence of the retaliatory tariffs the EU is imposing on American exports in an escalating trade war with the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump has used the iconic American motorcycle maker as an example of a U.S. business harmed by trade barriers in other countries, but Harley had warned that tariffs could negatively impact its sales.
The European Union on Friday began rolling out tariffs on American imports including bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice . The EU tariffs on $3.4 billion worth of U.S. products are retaliation for duties the Trump administration is imposing on European steel and aluminum.
The company said in a regulatory filing that EU tariffs on its motorcycles exported from the U.S. jumped between 6 percent and 31 percent, adding about $2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the EU.
The impact on U.S. workers because of Harley-Davidson's decision was not immediately clear. Harley-Davidson declined interview requests Monday but said in prepared remarks that the company "maintains a strong commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump's trade policies during a press briefing.
"The EU is attempting to punish U.S. workers with unfair and discriminatory trade policies, and President Trump will continue to push for free, fair and reciprocal trade and hopes that the EU will join us in that," Sanders said.
Harley-Davidson Inc. sold almost 40,000 motorcycles in the EU last year, its second-largest market after the United States, according to the company. The EU sales make up almost 16.4 percent of Harley-Davidson's worldwide sales. In the U.S., Harley-Davidson sold 147,972 motorcycles last year, according to company data.