Harley-Davidson likely isn’t the last American company to say it’s moving some operations overseas because of retaliatory tariffs, said Gary Locke, former U.S. ambassador to China.
“You’ll see many more U.S. companies doing that because many countries all around the world are imposing tariffs on American-made products and services,” said he told CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”
Harley said Monday that it was shifting some production overseas to offset the impact of tariffs by the European Union. Those tariffs, which are on more than $3 billion worth of U.S. goods including bourbon, yachts and motorcycles, were enacted by the EU in response to U.S. duties on European steel and aluminum.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump slammed Harley’s announcement and threatened that the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer will be “taxed like never before” if it follows through. He also claimed Harley was using increasing trade tensions as an excuse to justify changes that were already planned in manufacturing.
Locke, who also served as Commerce secretary under President Barack Obama and was governor of Washington, said what Harley-Davidson and other companies want to do is manufacture goods overseas for sale overseas to avoid paying the tariffs — and not them bring back to the U.S.