Harley-Davidson may face credit downgrade because of European Union tariffs


Trump has defended it by arguing that this is in retaliation to the imbalance of trade that the USA has with major trading partners including China, the European Union and India. But Trump says that's an excuse and threatened the company with a "big tax" if they move their plant.

In January, Harley-Davidson said it would close a plant in Kansas City, Missouri, due to a sharp drop in U.S. demand for its motorcycles, but said it would consolidate work done there into its plant in Pennsylvania.

"Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand".

It follows a proposed plan by Harley-Davidson to move some of its production overseas.

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Then it appeared as if Harley-Davidson's chief executive was punching back with a quote disparaging Trump.

Last year, Harley-Davidson announced it would build a plant in Thailand after Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which would have abolished tariffs on their motorcycles across 40 percent of the world's economy.

Trump ridiculed the company for building motorcycles overseas. Last year, the company sold 40,000 new motorcycles in Europe, equivalent to one-sixth of its worldwide sales, making the European Union the most important market after the US. "We lost United States dollars 151 billion with the European Union, which puts up great barriers so that our farmers can't trade", he said.

"If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end - they surrendered, they quit!"

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He accused India of charging tariffs as high as 100% on imported American products and called for them to be removed. He added: "The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!"

Those tariffs are a retaliation for trade penalties imposed by the Trump administration.

Morningstar Equity Research said in a note that the tariffs might "temporarily" hamper some of the company's planned growth initiatives. "Taxes just a Harley excuse - be patient!" "Harley must know that they won't be able to sell back into US without paying a big tax!" Trump said in a post on Twitter on Monday night.

The rift is particularly notable because Harley-Davidson has traditionally, had strong support within the GOP.

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The iconic motorcycle brand is the latest U.S. corporation to run afoul of the U.S. president, who has attacked Amazon as a tax dodger and scamming the U.S. Postal Service.