On Tuesday, American President Donald Trump charged Harley Davidson for taking its iconic motorcycles brand out of the United States.
Harley Davidson which is to soon move to Thailand has become the talk of the town and the big man threatens to tax the company for shifting most of its manufacturing bases. President Trump stated that Harley Davidson was strategically using the trade war as an excuse to move offshore.
This statement from Mr. President came a day after the Wisconsin-based company announced its plans to move some of its manufacturing overseas due to the European Union’s tariffs in retaliation for US duties.
EU officials blame Trump for this fall out with the company, previously glorified by him as “a true American icon.”
Though the EU responded in favor of Donald Trump’s steep steel and aluminum tariffs but levied import taxes on multiple American products including motorcycles, bourbon and blue jeans.
Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU Trade Commissioner said: “We don’t want to punish, but that is the unfortunate consequence, that (US companies) will put pressure on the American administration to say hey, hold on a minute, this is not good for the American economy.”
“Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand. That was long before Tariffs were announced. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse,” said Donald Trump.
“When I had Harley-Davidson officials over to the White House, I chided them about tariffs in other countries, like India, being too high … Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into the U.S. without paying a big tax,” he further tweeted.
These tweets from Trump clearly reflect that the President doesn’t agree with the notion that his policies were responsible for the occurrences.
Matthew Levatich, the chief executive of Harley-Davidson said that they find immense prospects in Southeast Asia and the manufacturing plant based in Thailand to get around extreme tariffs and duties as a part of managing major markets.
“We need to be there and be relevant. It’s very important to the long-term growth of the company as a segment within the international growth opportunity,” Levatich said.
Trump mocked Harley Davidson for moving offshore saying that the company should never be built in another country, stating on Twitter, “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!”
Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer with his swift remark on Trump’s tweet said that if the Germans or Japanese started with the same propaganda for BMWs or Toyotas, then a lot of American employees would turn unemployed.
The assembled parts which were previously imported from India or the United States for Asia will now be assembled by the Thailand plant.
Harley-Davidson’s manufactured in Thailand motorcycles will avoid up to 60% tariffs on the imported motorcycles of the country. Also, they will receive huge discounts on the tariffs when exported to the neighboring nations of Thailand.
This Thai-plant will also serve a major portion of the Chinese market. ASEAN is trying to create a trade-free zone with Beijing. The plant will also decrease the transport and the shipping time to reach the Chinese market from 45 to 60 days from the United States to 5 to 7 days.
Due to the difficult situation faced by the European Harley Davidson, French Parliament member Eric Straumann proposed Levatich to open a new factory on the French-German border in Alsace.
In a proposed letter to the Harley Davidson, Straumann said, “Our region is well renowned for the quality of its staff and its long tradition in the automobile and mechanical engineering sectors.”
Though the company gave out no immediate response but said that the idea to move offshore was only to avoid the EU tariffs.
Harley Davidson on every occasion said that its move to Thailand was only to encourage foreign markets in the long run since the US sales had dropped drastically.
In January, the company announced its decision to close its plant in the Kansas City and strengthen jobs in York, Pennsylvania.
In may the Local US media reported that the labor union for Harley-Davidson suggested some Kansas City jobs would be moving to Thailand, which the company has denied.
Source : Bangkokpost
Content : LovePattayaThailand