Harley-Davidson CEO: Outsourcing ‘Reversible’ if Trump Folds on Trade

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Harley-Davidson’s CEO Matthew Levatich has reportedly told lawmakers on Capitol Hill the only way the iconic American motorcycle company will stop outsourcing  jobs to foreign countries is if President Trump drops his fair trade agenda.

In an interview with Politico, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) revealed that he spoke to Levatich about the company’s recent announcement that they would be continuing to outsource their American manufacturing base to foreign countries.

Harley-Davidson executives have blamed Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as the reason for their outsourcing of American jobs, but as Breitbart News reported, the company has been offshoring U.S. jobs for at least a year.

Johnson told Politico:

Across the border in Wisconsin, things are equally dire after Harley-Davidson, a titan of American manufacturing, announced that Trump’s tariffs are driving its production overseas. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has spoken to Harley-Davidson’s CEO about its plans and was told the move overseas is “reversible” — if Trump backs away in the coming weeks or is otherwise hamstrung by Congress. [Emphasis added]

“I’m crossing my fingers hoping that will happen. I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Probably not soon enough for Harley to say: Now we have a stable system,” Johnson said. “Nobody wins a trade war.” [Emphasis added]

In a rebuke of Harley-Davidson’s announcement that they would be sending American jobs overseas, Trump blasted the company, writing online that his administration was working with other American automobile and motorcycle companies on bringing jobs back to the U.S.

Harley-Davidson workers, as Breitbart News noted, have praised Trump for his tariffs and said they did not blame his fair trade agenda for their jobs likely moving overseas, but instead blamed the company’s executives.

In March, Harley-Davidson — which was saved by tariffs on imported motorcycles back in 1983 — slammed Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum just as they were laying off hundreds of American workers and moving their jobs to Thailand, as Breitbart News reported.

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.

Massive trade deficits due to free trade 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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