- WASHINGTON — As President Trump pursues a protectionist trade policy, he has pointed repeatedly to Harley-Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer, as a company that will ultimately benefit.
Instead, it is getting caught in the crossfire.
The Wisconsin company said on Monday it would shift some production of its bikes overseas to avoid stiff retaliatory tariffs imposed by the European Union in response to Mr. Trump’s trade measures. The company said the move “is not the company’s preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the E.U. and maintain a viable business in Europe.”
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.
The White House is waging several trade wars at once, engaging in fights with China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union, which have each responded with their own retaliatory measures. The trade spats have triggered a range of unintended consequences, including a profit warning last week by Daimler, which blamed retaliatory Chinese tariffs for a slump in the sales of the S.U.V.s it builds in Tuscaloosa, Ala.