Harley-Davidson was one of the president’s favorite companies less than six months ago. Now it’s the latest business to feel his wrath.
That’s because on June 25, Harley-Davidson announced it will move some of its production overseas. The iconic American motorcycle brand said it was doing this to avoid retaliatory tariffs imposed by the European Union in response to U.S. import taxes.
“A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country – never!” President Donald Trump tweeted “Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end.”
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Back in February, things were very different. At a meeting with executives at the White House, Trump praised Harley-Davidson for being “a true American icon, one of the greats,” and thanked them “for building things in America.”
As an international relations expert who focuses on trade disputes, Trump’s anger at Harley’s announcement is understandable. He wants to promote Harley-Davidson for his “America First” agenda. The goal of this approach is to protect and create American manufacturing jobs. With Harley taking the production of its EU-bound bikes abroad, this does not look like a success for Trump.
But this got me to thinking, in a world that depends on global supply chains, what makes a product truly “made in America”? Is a Harley really an all-American bike? Who even cares?