Its business strategy criticized, Trump takes it to Harley-Davidson

In a salvo of tweets on Tuesday, Donald Trump has not hidden his annoyance in the face of the decision of Harley-Davidson to relocate part of its production (Photo MANDEL NGAN. AFP)

Donald Trump took on Tuesday of new attacks against the legendary brand of Harley-Davidson, which has announced its intention to relocate part of its production outside the United States and issued and doubts on the relevance of its protectionist policies.

In a salvo of tweets, Donald Trump has not hidden his annoyance in the face of the decision of the famous american group based in Milwaukee (Wisconsin) to relocate part of its production abroad to escape the tariffs established by Brussels in retaliation to those of Washington.

“A Harley-Davidson should never be manufactured in another country-never!”, has thundered the 45th president of the United States. “Their employees and customers are already very raised against them. If they move, you see, this will be the beginning of the end”.

Donald Trump, singer of “America first”, was first “surprised” on Monday of the decision of the brand aged 115 years. Then astonishment gave way to anger.

“Companies are now returning to America. Harley needs to understand that they will not be able to resell in the United States without paying a big tax”, he wrote on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), menacing in the Harley-Davidson of reprisal if the manufacturer wanted to sell in the United States of motorcycles manufactured abroad.

For Donald Trump, Harley-Davidson uses the “trade war” as a “pretext” to relocate “and I don’t like it because I have been very good with Harley-Davidson”, he said in front of journalists at the White House.

A union of the famous manufacturer, quoted by media, said last month that at least a portion of the jobs lost in the framework of the closure of a factory in Kansas City (Missouri) would be transferred in Thailand, which has been denied by the group. A plant, however, is well under construction in the countries of South-East Asia.

A little over a year after having received with great fanfare the executives of Harley-Davidson to the White House, the rupture seems to be so consumed.

– The “consequences” of its trade policy –

Thumbing his nose at the elks protectionist of the american president, the decision of Harley-Davidson seems to undermine the strategy of Mr. Trump on the trade. And the critics are many, including in his camp, a republican.

“The problem is not that Harley is not patriotic, it is that the customs taxes are stupid”, and found the republican senator Ben Sasse, for which these new measures “do not work”.

And the leader of the republicans in the House of representatives, Paul Ryan, elected to the Wisconsin –the bastion of Harley-Davidson bikes– came to contradict the strategy of Donald Trump on Tuesday.

“Again I repeat, I do not think that the customs taxes are the appropriate way to proceed. I think the tariffs are just taxes and what happens at the end is an escalation of prices”, he criticized.

For the european Union, the decision of Harley-Davidson is not a surprise.

“Of course the consequences are that businesses and consumers in the u.s. –that we do not want to punish, but it is an unfortunate consequence– will react and put pressure on the american administration to say: +hey, wait a minute, this is not good for the american economy+. And this is what happens”, said on Tuesday Cecilia Malmström, the european commissioner for Trade.

The trade dispute with the european Union was triggered by the imposition of taxes on steel and aluminium europeans at the beginning of the month of June. In retaliation, the Europeans have decided to tax products iconic american as blue jeans, bourbon, peanut butter and in the famous Harley-Davidson.

The brand has indicated that the european taxes renchériraient its motorcycles manufactured in the United States of $ 2,200 each on the european market. However, after the United States, Europe is the second largest market for Harley-Davidson. Each year, around 40,000 motorcycles are sold there.

But Donald Trump intends to persist and attack this time with european vehicles. He suggested Tuesday on Twitter that a decision was approaching.

It has been a few months since engaged in several battles on the trade, with the european Union but also its neighbors, canada and mexico. It has also attacked China in a conflict over the alleged theft of intellectual property, which worries the markets and could have repercussions on global growth.

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