Democrats pounce on Harley-Davidson, Trump battle

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Airport High School in West Columbia S.C. Monday

US President Donald Trump sought on Tuesday to avoid blame for Harley-Davidson's decision to move some motorcycle production overseas and threatened to tax the manufacturer "like never before!" as punishment for the planned production shift. In a piece by the Washington Post, the Mid-Continental nail, one of the country's largest manufacturers of nails, say they will be laying off approximately 60 employees as a direct result of the European Union tariffs set forth by the Trump administration. He later added, "The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!"

Tuesday marked Trump's second straight day of leveling attacks at Harley Davidson.

Harley-Davidson announced in January plans to shutter a Kansas City, Missouri, assembly plant, citing market conditions, about a month before Trump said he'd move forward on threats to implement tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel.

"Increasing worldwide production to alleviate the European Union tariff burden is not the company's preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the European Union and maintain a viable business", the company said in a regulatory filing. "Now they are trying to use the tariffs to excuse and deflect from that decision". He also used the occasion to speak against unbalanced and unfair trade, while giving assurances of finding a solution for the same. Trump blasted Harley-Davidson in remarks Tuesday afternoon, accusing them of using the tariffs as an "excuse".

"Of all the companies to go oversees - their biggest selling point is in being American", said Michael Hoskins of Detroit, Mich.

"Companies are now coming back to America".

Trump has imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel imported from Europe and elsewhere.

The recent trade dispute with Harley Davidson is just the latest example. "If the United States hits us again with a 20 percent increase on cars, we will respond again".

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As U.S. customers age and loyalty to the brand wanes, Harley-Davidson has been aiming to make up for falling U.S. demand by boosting overseas sales to 50 percent of annual volume from about 43 percent.

John Lowery, a sales manager with Battlefield Harley-Davidson in Straban Township, Adams County, said he isn't that concerned, since the move involves only production of Harley's sold overseas.

Payne explained that it will cost the company $200 million to close the Kansas City plant and open a new one in Thailand.

Johnson is also a former employee of Harley Davidson in West Fargo, where he was a parts manager for 14 years.

Harley-Davidson expects ramping-up production in worldwide plants will require incremental investment and could take at least 9 to 18 months to be fully complete.

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

Republican Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, whose Wisconsin district includes Harley's plant in Menomonee Falls, said the European Union has a long history of abusive trade practices but urged Trump to address abuses without harming jobs in the US. "The European Union is attempting to punish USA workers with unfair and discriminatory trade policies", said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Harley-Davidson believes the tremendous cost increase, if passed onto its dealers and retail customers, would have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business in the region, reducing customer access to Harley-Davidson products and negatively impacting the sustainability of its dealers' businesses.

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