MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
President Trump went after Harley-Davidson on Twitter again today. He pronounced his administration is operative with other, presumably foreign, motorcycle makers to come to a U.S. and start creation their motorcycles here. Now, there are not a lot of details. It is not transparent how distant along these discussions are or if they’re function during all, but, once again, a boss appears to be melancholy to retort conflicting a U.S. association for adventurous to change some prolongation divided from a United States. Joining us now is Chad Bown. He’s a trade consultant with a Peterson Institute. Welcome, Mr. Bown.
CHAD BOWN: Hi, Mary Louise.
KELLY: Hi. So I’m tempted to contend this is an unusual situation, a boss going after an American association like this. But this seems to indeed be rising as a settlement for President Trump. I’m meditative of Carrier. I’m meditative of Amazon.
BOWN: Yeah. It’s really not extraordinary, yet – even yet he’s finished it before it – we find it differing each time, we know, we see an American boss indeed bullying a association like this. But we consider it’s critical to get out there, we know, accurately only how normal what Harley-Davidson indeed did in this instance. All they did was file, we know, a regulatory square of paperwork with a Securities and Exchange Commission notifying their shareholders about some critical changes that they were making, that they were going to pierce some of their prolongation outward of a United States. Now, what was critical from President Trump’s viewpoint is a reason why, and they settled in this filing a reason since is since it’s now too costly to furnish from a United States for a European market. That’s fundamentally since of his steel and aluminum tariffs that are lifting their costs and a retaliatory tariffs that a European Union is putting on motorcycles since of his tariffs.
KELLY: Right. This is a bit of a Catch-22 for Harley-Davidson, right? It’s a modern, tellurian corporation. It’s got plants in conflicting countries all over a world. It’s this iconic American brand, and they would disagree during Harley that they’re forced to make this preference since of a president’s trade policy, even as he is branding Harley-Davidson as unpatriotic.
BOWN: That’s right. The problem from Harley-Davidson’s viewpoint is while they’re a tellurian brand, so are their competitors. So, we know, companies like BMW and Ducate that are European, we know, formed companies, they now can sell in Europe during a 31 percent cost bonus relations to Harley-Davidson since they don’t face those tariffs. Other competitors like Kawasaki and Honda and Yamaha, Japanese-based companies, Europe is signing trade deals with Japan to reduce tariffs for them. They can now sell, we know – or they’ll be means to sell for a reduce cost in Europe as well. At a same time, President Trump is going in a conflicting direction. He’s lifting tariffs conflicting everybody. So it’s only creation it formidable for a association like Harley-Davidson to compete.
KELLY: The boss done a indicate in his twitter this morning that we was struggling to follow. He steady his explain that Harley owners are not happy with a president’s preference to pierce some prolongation overseas. And as evidence, he seemed to offer that Harley sales were down in 2017, a idea being sales were down final year over something that indeed happened final week.
BOWN: Yeah, this was a tough one to follow, though, we know, we consider a critical thing to keep in mind is President Trump’s common plan when things aren’t going his approach is to try to find someone else to blame. And, we know, radically that’s what he’s doing here, generally when a genuine underlying source of a problem is his possess policies. Now, we know, what might be function with Harley-Davidson is, we know, it could be a integrate of things. The normal marketplace for…
KELLY: Name one. We’ve only got a few seconds.
BOWN: …For Harley-Davidson is comparison riders, baby boomers, they might be aging out of, we know, Harleys. You know, a destiny direct might not be there. The destiny direct might be in a 7 billion business outward a United States.
KELLY: Many questions there about direct and trade. Chad Bown, interjection really much.
BOWN: Thanks for carrying me.
KELLY: Chad Bown of a Peterson Institute on NPR News.
NPR transcripts are combined on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and constructed regulating a exclusive transcription routine grown with NPR. This content might not be in a final form and might be updated or revised in a future. Accuracy and accessibility might vary. The lawful record of NPR’s programming is a audio record.