Harley-Davidson Warns Against Trump’s Tariffs While Laying Off American Manufacturing Workers


Harley-Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle company, is warning against President Trump’s proposed 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and ten percent tariff on imported aluminum while laying off American manufacturing workers.

This week, Harley-Davidson released a statement on Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports — primarily to protect American industries and jobs from a flood of cheap imported materials from China — saying the motorcycle would be hit, as far as sales, if the tariffs were enacted.

The New York Post reports:

Harley-Davidson said on Monday that a punitive, retaliatory tariff on its motorcycles in any market would have a “significant impact” on its sales there.

Harley said in a statement that it supports free and fair trade, and the proposed US import tariffs will drive up costs for all products made with aluminum and steel, regardless of their origin.

At the same time, Harley-Davidson has been most recently laying off American manufacturing workers.

In January, Harley-Davidson announced that it would be closing its plant in Kansas City and moving leftover production to York, Pennsylvania. The decision to close the Kansas City plant will result in about 260 American manufacturing workers losing their jobs.

Last year, as Breitbart News reported, about 183 American workers were laid off by the motorcycle company in Kansas City and Menomonee Falls.

The layoffs came just a year after Harley-Davidson decided to contract the outsourcing firm Infosys, which is responsible for the displacement of hundreds of thousands of American workers who have had their jobs sent overseas.

As outsourcing expert Patrick Thibodeau reported at the time, Harley-Davidson uses the H-1B visa to outsource American jobs to foreign nationals, while also outsourcing their IT department.

At the time Harley-Davidson contracted Infosys to outsource their IT department to India, roughly 125 Americans lost their jobs to foreign nationals.

Harley-Davidson, though, was protected by tariffs in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan, when he raised tariffs on imported motorcycles. At the time, Harley-Davidson was “delighted” by the tariffs.

The New York Times reported in 1983:

The action was exceptional for protecting a single American company, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company of Milwaukee, the sole surviving American maker of motorcycles. [Emphasis added]

The only comparable trade action by this Administration, the President’s decision last May to impose quotas on sugar imports for the first time since 1974, was aimed at an entire industry.

‘We’re delighted,” said Vaughn L. Beals, Harley-Davidson’s chairman. ”It will give us time that we might otherwise not have had to make manufacturing improvements and bring out new products.” [Emphasis added]

Free trade agreements like KORUS and NAFTA helped open up overseas markets for multinational companies to outsource their American manufacturing jobs to countries like Mexico, leaving millions of Americans laid off in the process.

For example, massive trade deficits due to free trade with Mexico have left the once-booming working and middle-class Rust Belt region crumbling, with a net total of about 700,000 U.S. jobs displaced, including:

  • 14,500 American workers displaced in Wisconsin
  • 43,600 American workers displaced in Michigan
  • 2,600 American workers displaced in West Virginia
  • 26,300 American workers displaced in Pennsylvania
  • 34,900 American workers displaced in Ohio
  • 34,300 American workers displaced in New York
  • 6,500 American workers displaced in Iowa
  • 24,400 American workers displaced in Indiana
  • 34,700 American workers displaced in Illinois

One former steel town in West Virginia lost 94 percent of its steel jobs because of NAFTA, with nearly 10,000 workers in the town being displaced from the steel industry. Since China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, there have been 3.2 million American jobs lost with 2.4 million of those jobs coming from the U.S. manufacturing sector.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.


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