Motorcycle maker caught in crossfire

Hey, what’s going on here?

Donald J. Trump said that Harley-Davidson, the iconic motorcycle manufacturer, was going to benefit from his economic policies. The company would flourish from his protectionist measures. The tariffs and all that.

That’s not how it’s playing out.

Harley-Davidson has announced it is moving some of its operations offshore because it doesn’t want to get caught in the crossfire leveled by the European Union, which is retaliating against the president’s tariffs against EU nations.

As the New York Times has reported: Mr. Trump’s trade war is beginning to ripple through the United States economy as companies struggle with a cascade of tariffs here and abroad. While Mr. Trump says his trade policy is aimed at reviving domestic manufacturing, Harley-Davidson’s move shows how the White House approach could backfire as American companies increasingly rely on overseas markets for materials, production and sales.

Harley-Davidson is one of the few American companies that had resisted — until now — the temptation to relocate to sites overseas. They make Harleys in Wisconsin and the president was proud to hail the U.S.-made manufacturer as a beneficiary of the policies he is pursuing.

Of course, the president is distressed that Harley-Davidson would bail as a result of the tariffs and the trade war that has commenced between the United States and the EU. He said Harley-Davidson is using the tariffs as an “excuse.” He wrote in a tweet, according to the NY Times: “Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag,” he said. “I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U., which has hurt us badly on trade.”

Well, Mr. President, you didn’t fight hard enough, apparently. The trade war has just produced some early casualties.

Nice going. Who’s next?

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