WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump endorsed calls Sunday for a boycott of tariff-hit Harley-Davidson over its plans to move production of its iconic American motorcycles out of the country, including building a plant in Thailand.
Trump has taken it personally since Wisconsin-based manufacturer — once a presidential favourite — announced on Monday it is moving some production out of the US.
Harley-Davidson was targeted with EU tariffs after Trump imposed stiff duties on European steel and aluminum.
An array of US companies have complained they are being hurt by the administration’s tariff policies.
But Trump has treated the issue as a loyalty test.
“I’ve done so much for you, and then this,” Trump tweeted earlier this week. “Other companies are coming back where they belong! We won’t forget, and neither will your customers or your now very HAPPY competitors!”
Last year, Harley-Davidson announced it would build a plant in Thailand after Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which would have abolished tariffs on their motorcycles across 40% of the world’s economy.
The company has repeatedly described the Thailand factory, along with other overseas production, as vital to its long-term need to boost foreign markets to make up for sluggish sales in the US.
In January, Harley-Davidson announced it would close its Kansas City, Missouri, assembly plant and consolidate US jobs at York, Pennsylvania.
“A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country-never!” Trump said earlier on Twitter.