Disappointment, surprise, bluster, promises he cannot keep, illogic, threats, a promise to destroy the company...
President Donald Trump writes:
(1) Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag. I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U., which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion. Taxes just a Harley excuse-be patient! #MAGA
(2) Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand. That was long before Tariffs were announced. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse. Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it.
(3) When I had Harley-Davidson officials over to the White House, I chided them about tariffs in other countries, like India, being too high. Companies are now coming back to America. Harley must know that they won’t be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax! We are getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers that have been unfairly used for years against our farmers, workers and companies. We are opening up closed markets and expanding our footprint. They must play fair or they will pay tariffs!
(4) A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never! Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end-they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!
What a difference a year makes!
A little more than a year ago, Trump invited executives and union representatives from Harley-Davidson to the White House. There he vowed that the motorcycle manufacturer would flourish under his economic stewardship. “Thank you, Harley-Davidson, for building things in America,” he said. “And I think you’re going to even expand—I know your business is now doing very well and there’s a lot of spirit right now in the country that you weren’t having so much in the last number of months that you have right now...
This is not governance in any form recognizable since the days of Henry VIII Tudor, when a strange combination of technocrats, plutocrats, time-servers, flatterers, and careerists surrounding the mentally-unbalanced monarch with impulse control problems tried to advance their careers and keep things from going off the rails.
Daniel W. Drezner: "Outside of the renegotiated KORUS, which included a symbolic move on autos, no other country has lowered its tariffs or other trade barriers to the United States. They have lowered barriers with each other though (TPP, Canada-EU, Japan-EU)..."
Catherine Rampell: Factory workers aren’t getting what Trump promised: "Harley-Davidson, whose U.S. factories are in Wisconsin, Missouri and Pennsylvania, is hardly the only firm buckling under the weight of Trump’s brilliant trade dealmaking...
...Don’t take it from out-of-touch East Coast elites like me; check out all the coverage from local papers and other news organizations around the heartland, documenting the damage.
In Missouri, the nation’s last remaining major nail producer has lost half its business in the past two weeks, laid off dozens of workers and may be out of business around Labor Day. All thanks to Trump’s steel tariffs, which have sharply raised its input costs.
In Florida, orange growers fear a drop-off in demand due to retaliatory tariffs on OJ shipped to China and the European Union.
In Iowa, soybean, corn and pork producers fret about the hundreds of millions of dollars in sales they stand to lose from retaliatory duties on their exports to China, Mexico and the E.U.
Hoosiers worry about the fate of those same sectors, plus the chemical, transportation equipment and machinery industries that are being targeted for Chinese tariffs. And Indiana automotive-part and orthopedic-joint manufacturers will now face higher input costs thanks to Trump’s steel tariffs.
In Kentucky, bourbon distillers are losing business with distributors, who are frightened off by retaliatory tariffs across many of our trading partners.
Similar stories apply to Wisconsin cheesemakers and MRI manufacturers. And Ohio auto and auto-parts manufacturers, brewers and appliance makers.
It is no coincidence that so many Trump-voting areas will suffer. That’s because of two unfortunate developments. First is our businessman in chief’s baffling lack of sophistication about supply chains. He still does not seem to understand that placing tariffs on intermediate goods such as steel and aluminum will hurt the downstream manufacturers that purchase those materials and that employ an order of magnitude more Trump Country workers than the U.S. steel and aluminum industries do. Second is the much more strategic retaliation by our furious trading partners, which are deliberately targeting industries located in politically sensitive areas. Trump’s approval ratings among Republicans remain strong. But as these tariffs and countertariffs steamroll across Trump Country, supporters may eventually get tired of all this “winning.”
The question is: When will Congress? It is Congress, after all, that the Constitution actually empowers to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.” Yet over the past eight decades, the legislative branch has delegated more and more of its trade-regulating authority to the executive branch. This turn of events, which began just a few years after Congress had sparked a worldwide trade war with its disastrous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, at first seemed like a good idea. It looked like the best way to streamline and depoliticize trade negotiations in service of a more liberalized international market — which Congress knew benefitted the increasingly hegemonic United States. The problem, of course, is that periodically presidents have abused this power. And none have done so more than Trump, who ludicrously argues that tariffs on Canadian steel and German cars are necessary on national security grounds.
Congress certainly has the ability to claw back some of the trade powers it gave away to the White House. It has, in fact, on occasion. But with rare exceptions, Republican legislators are too fearful of an angry Trump tweet today to prevent the wholly foreseeable economic misfortunes that will befall their own constituents tomorrow.