Trump's trade war is taking its toll

Published on Tuesday, 3 July 2018 20:06
Written by THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Donald Trump’s trade war has been an abstraction for most Americans so far, but the retaliation has now begun in earnest and the casualties are starting to mount.

The President’s beloved stock market took another header Monday on news of more restrictions on investment into the U.S., and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is now down for 2018. But the biggest losers Monday were the American workers who make Harley-Davidson motorcycles whose jobs will soon be headed overseas thanks to the Trump tariffs.

Last year Mr. Trump commended Harley-Davidson for “building things in America,” calling the company “a true American icon, one of the greats.” And he proclaimed last week at a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, “We’re bringing back our jobs from other countries.” Awkward timing, Mr. President.

On Monday the motorcycle company announced it will shift more production out of the United States.

U.S. motorcycle sales have been on the decline, so Harley has kept its rubber side down by focusing on global growth. The company considers the EU a “critical market,” and last year it sold nearly 40,000 bikes to European consumers. But in retaliation for Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, the European Union raised its tax on American-exported Harleys to 31% from 6%, effective last Friday. That amounts to a $2,200 tax on each motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the EU.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Harley said “the tremendous cost increase, if passed on to 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.” Translation for Mr. Trump: Unlike real estate, cars and motorcycles are a global market.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Columns on Tuesday, 3 July 2018 20:06. Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2018 20:09.