Trump denies he's to blame for Harley-Davidson decision

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk together on their way to greet Harley Davidson executives on the South Lawn of the White House

Its shares have lost about 9 percent since early March when the trade skirmish between the United States and the European Union started, and are down over 18 percent since end-December 2017.

Harley-Davidson Inc.'s headquarters in Milwaukee.

Last week German automaker Daimler AG cut its 2018 earnings outlook, a change that it says is partly due to increased import tariffs for USA vehicles in China.

The move was a retaliation over duties Mr Trump imposed on steel and aluminium from Europe.

The EU tariffs will add $2,200 to the cost of an average motorcycle, threatening "an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business", the company said Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The EU's levies are only the latest blowback Harley has faced from Trump's trade policies.

That will make each bike about $2,200 more expensive to export, Harley said.

The company said it will take a hit of $30 million to $45 million for the rest of this year.

Wisconsin's top Republican leaders are not criticising President Donald Trump's trade policy or Harley-Davidson's decision to shift the production of motorcycles headed for Europe from the USA to factories overseas. Shifting manufacturing to the European Union will allow the motorbike maker to avoid that hit-although it will take 9 to 18 months to ramp-up worldwide plants, Harley-Davison says, and in the meantime the company is expecting to lose $30 million to $45 million during the transition.

Harley forecast the EU's retaliatory tariffs would cost the company $US90 million ($121 million) to $US100 million ($135 million) a year.

Harley-Davidson has been relying on Europe and other worldwide markets to help offset declining sales in the United States, where the baby boomers who have long bought the vehicles are aging and younger consumers are not taking to the motorcycles in a big way.

In January, the company said it was closing a factory in Kansas City, Missouri, and consolidating it into a York assembly plant.

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"Thank you, Harley-Davidson, for building things in America", Trump said at the time.

For the US, Harley-Davidson production isn't changing: the motorcycles sold in the country will still be made here.

Mary Lovely, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and Yang Liang, a graduate associate at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, highlighted the possibility that companies will abandon the U.S. in a recent policy paper.

More potential pitfalls for Harley-Davidson and other US manufacturers could be on the way.

The president's tweet references statements made by Harley Davidson as to why they planned to move some production in their company to an worldwide location.

"A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country - never!"

The conservative Wall Street Journal took a battering ram to President Donald Trump's tariffs - and threat of more - saying he is killing the jobs of the very workers he had vowed to protect and warning Republicans are going to take a beating at the polls in November because of him.

While Trump has repeatedly claimed that the US can win trade wars, victims are starting to pile up at home and overseas.

"We can not speculate about how this morning's announcement will impact employment in the U.S. Domestic sales are what drive production and employment at Harley's U.S. facilities". "Harley's main manufacturing facilities are in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and Mr. Trump has said the "big league" support of Harley employees helped him win the swing states in 2016". The company, which is headquartered in Speaker Paul Ryan's congressional district, is moving some production to Europe to avoid the tariffs.

Shares in Harley-Davidson were down by 4.1 percent to $42.38 (£31.92) shortly after the market opened. The president hosted Harley executive at the White House in 2017 and has repeatedly praised the company as a strong homegrown product. "Harley must know that they won't be able to sell back into US without paying a big tax!"

But companies have warned that retaliatory tariffs could be devastating for business, or lead to higher prices for U.S. consumers.

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