Trump's tweet, sent Tuesday morning, sends a clear message that his administration plans on penalizing companies that shift production as a result of ongoing trade battles between the USA and foreign nations.
He then warned: "If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end - they surrendered, they quit!" They are a response to the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe. The company in its US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on Monday said that new retaliatory tariffs by the European Union (an increase from six percent to 31 per cent) will result in an incremental cost of approximately United States dollars 2,200 on an average motorcycle exported from the US to the EU.
"Harley-Davidson maintains a strong commitment to US -based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally", it said in response to the production news.
Harley-Davidson said tariffs on motorcycles exports have increased by 31%, hiking prices by about $2,200, on average, per motorcycle. The company did not comment on how many jobs would be shifted away from the US, but said that it would take between nine and 18 months to move production away from Wisconsin.
President Trump will reportedly announce a new set of restrictions on trade with China this week.
Harley-Davidson wasn't perhaps the best exemplar of American manufacturing for either Trump or Ryan to hold up in the first place.
Interestingly, reports from India had speculated that it, too, would impose tariffs on USA motorcycles, but as of press time those additional tariffs had not actually been levied. Setting up production facilities overseas will take between nine and 18 months, the company said.
"Wisconsin needs a governor who says Donald Trump is a risky idiot on every issue from immigration to trade policy", said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. According to Thomson Reuters, the European Union tariffs reduced Harley-Davidson's 2018 profit by 5-8 percent.
Harley-Davidson's reveal was followed by deep slides on Wall Street: Harley shares dropped almost 6 percent, while the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted. He said the administration has been "getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers that have been unfairly used for years against our farmers, workers and companies".
Trump later denied that his trade policy was to blame for the company's decision. He could be referring to the tariffs he is attempting to unilaterally impose on foreign imports.
The European Union on Friday began rolling out tariffs on American imports including bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice.
In a similar vein, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Europe was ready for Round Two if Trump really wanted it.
The company's solution? It plans to start building some of its motorcycles in Europe, allowing it to avoid the tariffs that are now being imposed on $3.2 billion worth of American goods.
Payne explained that it will cost the company $200 million to close the Kansas City plant and open a new one in Thailand. That makes the market second to the US.
"I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the European Union, which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion". Harley responded with the promise of an electric model, but even that is unlikely to counter the tariff-related increase in sticker price.