Donald Trump attacked Harley-Davidson on Tuesday, tweeting that it was the “beginning of the end” for the US motorcycle company which would be “taxed like never before”.
The US president launched a Twitter tirade after Harley-Davidson announced this week that it would move some production out of its home country in order to mitigate the potential damage caused by a trade war that Mr Trump triggered with tariffs on steel and aluminium.
The president tweeted: “A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never! 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!”
It said it was forced to do so because a 25 per cent import tariff imposed by the EU on US motorcycles from Friday would add $2,200 (£1,660) to the cost of its bikes in the trading bloc on average. That levy came as part of a retaliation to the Trump administration’s own tariffs on steel and aluminium.
The US president threatened further taxes on any Harley-Davidson imports from the company’s overseas sites.
He also accused the company of hiding behind the excuse of tariffs when making the decision to move.
“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. Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it…..” Mr Trump wrote.
According to the US International Trade Commission website, the US currently imposes a 2.4 per cent levy on imports of motorbikes with engines 800cc or over. It is not clear how big any new tariff on Harley-Davidson products would be.
It came as Jack Daniel’s warned that EU consumers face paying around 10 per cent more for the whiskey brand thanks to new tariffs.
Brussels slapped a 25 per cent tariff on bourbon whiskey, orange juice and a host of other American imports starting on Friday.
A spokesperson for Jack Daniel’s parent company Brown-Foreman said on Monday that prices could rise by 10 per cent once distributors’ stockpiled supplies begin to run out over the next couple of months.
Rises will vary across different markets because local distributors and retailers also have a say in setting prices, the spokesperson said. The firm makes around a quarter of its revenues in Europe.
Mr Trump has said he believes that America is being treated unfairly by its trading partners who impose higher tariffs on imports than the US.
Last year, an analysis by economists at the University of Toronto found that US tariffs for manufactured goods were slightly lower on a trade-weighted basis than the EU’s but higher than other developed nations including Japan and Canada