Trump escalates war with American Harley-Davidson – encourages owners to boycott prominent American motorbike makers

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President Donald Trump said it would be “great” if bikers boycott Harley Davidson over its plans to shift some production overseas.

Trump said: “Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better.”

Trump once described the American motorbike maker which was founded in Milwaukee in 1903 as “a true American icon, one of the greats”. But he changed his opinion of the company after it said in June that it would shift some motorcycle production away from the US to avoid the “substantial” burden of European Union tariffs. Harley-Davidson has assembly plants in Australia, Brazil, India and Thailand as well as in the US, but it has not said which plant would take up the extra production.

A day earlier, Trump had welcomed a “Bikers for Trump” group into his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “Quite a scene – great people who truly love our Country!” he tweeted.

Trump imposed hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports earlier this year in an effort to bolster domestic manufacturing. The European Union responded by pledging to raise tariffs on a list of goods that are imported from the US, including Harley motorbikes.

The President has accused Harley Davidson of using the European retaliatory tariffs as “an excuse” for moving manufacturing abroad, and described their decision as an act of corporate treason.