Trump denies he’s to blame for Harley-Davidson decision
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE
Tuesday, June 26
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump denied Tuesday that his trade policy is to blame for Harley-Davidson’s decision to shift some motorcycle production overseas, saying on Twitter that the company is using “Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse” to hide previously announced plans to move jobs to Asia.
The Milwaukee-based company said Monday it came to its decision because of retaliatory tariffs it faces in an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union. The company had no immediate response Tuesday to the president’s assertions.
Trump warned Harley-Davidson that any shift in production “will be the beginning of the end.”
“The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!” Trump said in one of several tweets Tuesday. He was referring to tariffs Harley-Davidson would face on motorcycles produced overseas and shipped back to the U.S. for sale.
The president has held up the iconic American motorcycle maker as an example of a U.S. business harmed by trade barriers in other countries, but Harley-Davidson had warned that tariffs could negatively impact its sales.
Trump recently imposed steep tariffs on aluminum and steel imported from Canada, Mexico and Europe in his bid to level the trade playing field and reduce trade deficits between the U.S. and its trade partners. But those countries have treated Trump’s action as an insult and have chosen to respond in kind.
The U.S. and China are also volleying back and forth over tariffs.
Trump tweeted that Harley-Davidson had already announced it was closing a Kansas City plant and moving those jobs to Thailand. But it was union officials representing workers at that plant who claimed the jobs were being shifted to Thailand. Harley-Davidson has denied a link between Kansas City and Thailand.
“That was long before Tariffs were announced,” Trump said. “Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse. Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it…..”
Trump said he’s getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers, and to open up markets.
A group from Harley-Davidson met with Trump at the White House last year.
“When I had Harley-Davidson officials over to the White House, I chided them about tariffs in other countries, like India, being too high,” Trump tweeted. “Companies are now coming back to America. Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax!”
Trump added that the administration is finishing a study on imposing tariffs on cars from the EU, which he claims has taken advantage of the U.S. for too long.
“A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never!” Trump tweeted. “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!”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said Trump’s attack on Harley-Davidson is an example of the president “punching down.”
“I don’t have a problem with the president taking on China,” Kinzinger said Tuesday on CNN, adding that he personally likes Trump. But the Illinois Republican said it bothers him when Trump also takes on Canada and European nations, among others.
“Don’t take on Harley. It’s a great company,” Kinzinger said.
Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman contributed to this report.
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USTMA “TIRE MANUFACTURING AMBASSADORS” TAKE TO CAPITOL HILL
Tire Manufacturer Employees Bring Industry Insights and Perspectives to Policymakers
WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 26, 2018 –Twelve “Tire Manufacturing Ambassadors” met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill as a part of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association’s (USTMA) second annual advocacy initiative. The program brings employees from USTMA member companies to Washington, D.C. to discuss key issues affecting the tire manufacturing industry and to highlight the industry’s economic contributions.
Each USTMA member company selected a representative who embodies the industry’s commitment to safety and demonstrates superior leadership, passion and service.
“We are proud to partner with our Tire Manufacturing Ambassadors to represent our industry’s issues in Congress,” said Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA President and CEO. “Our Ambassadors and the facilities in which they work are impacted by the decisions of our nation’s policymakers and maintain a unique perspective that needs to be heard by members of Congress.”
The Tire Manufacturing Ambassadors and USTMA staff met with a dozen congressional offices from states with a strong tire manufacturing presence. The Tire Manufacturing Ambassadors discussed the contributions tire manufacturing facilities bring to the national and local economy including more than 737,000 jobs in the U.S. and another 284,000 jobs through manufacturing, distribution and retailing, and 450,000 additional U.S. jobs in supplier and induced activities. In addition, they also discussed the recent 232 tariffs imposed on steel imports citing potential negative implications on the tire manufacturing industry and the U.S. economy.
The U.S. tire manufacturing industry contributes nearly $150 billion in economic output and pays $21 billion in state, federal and local taxes.
About U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association:
The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S. Our 12 member companies operate 56 tire-related manufacturing facilities in 17 states and generate over $27 billion in annual sales. We directly support more than a quarter million tire manufacturing U.S. jobs – totaling almost $20 billion in wages. In 2017, USTMA members accounted for 82 percent of the 316 million passenger, light truck and truck tire shipments in the U.S.