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Tariffs not just a loser for Trump.

June 26, 2018

Being portrayed as one of the unintended consequences to the President’s tariff kerfuffle with our trading partners, or perhaps adversaries, is Harley Davidson’s “precipitous” flight to Europe.

Actually, Harley has been planning this move since last year, hoping to avoid the pre-Trump high tariffs in India and China..

The iconic motorcycle manufacturer has been in dire financial straits off and on throughout its history.  With U.S. sales down 12% last year, this move shouldn’t be unexpected.

Ranging from their low end stock models at an $8700 base price, to the high end at  just over 12 grand sans big bore and option modification kits, many people found the cachet of the name and image just a bit rich for their blood, especially during the recession.

Perhaps predictably, the thought of adding another $2200 to $3700 to the base overseas price, on top of the already high tariffs,  wasn’t making them any more attractive to buyers in Europe.

The idea of Harley as an solely American manufacturer is one of their top selling points. Time will tell if this move hurts more than helps their sales.

Obviously the President’s goal was to get other countries to LOWER their tariffs, or even to eliminate them all together.

Faced with a loss of revenue and giving up their own nationalistic protectionism, other countries chose instead to punish the U.S. by ramping up the penalties they have been imposing on us for doing business with them for decades.

On the flip side, a  British company that bought a U.S. steel mill, also to avoid tariffs, fired up the furnaces recently, the first time that mill has been active in three years, and is reported to eventually employ up to 300 people.

Certainly, the President could and maybe should have simply said that we would start charging other countries the same tariffs they were charging us, rather than to pick the two metals used in virtually everything mechanical that we produce.

But we know for a fact now that his claim that other nations are just using us for a piggy bank are true.

Which leads to this comment from a U.S. consumer:

” Hey, it’s no big deal to switch from Irish whiskey and French wine to American bourbon.  I can get smashed just as easy on American booze. Pour me a Jack.”

From → op-ed

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