harley davidson offshoring production

Harley Davidson

Offshoring Production



impact white flag surrender
greet fault (2) wave the white flag
flurry furious quarter (2)
proud promise stand/stood/stood
uproar channel campaign (2)
iconic retaliate put on (2)
debate wave (3) current (3)
aim (2) relentless gun the engine
salary potential whopping
motive executive play with fire (2)
analyst embrace offshore (2)
wage head (2) manufacture
excuse brake (2) frustrated
tweet backlash undeniably
extra push (2)







From true American icon to “You’re gonna pay for this.”
President Trump doing a 180 on Harley-Davidson this morning, unleashing on Twitter when the American motorcycle company announced it was moving some production overseas to avoid tariffs from the European Union.

Those tariffs of course, a response to the Trump Administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. But now President Trump says Harley-Davidson won’t be able to sell its products in the US without paying a tax.


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“They’ve surrendered; they’ve quit; they’ve waved the white flag. A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country.”

Donald Trump greeted news of Harley-Davidson sending more of its motorcycling manufacturing out of the United States with a flurry of furious tweets.

Donald Trump, US President: “I think the people who ride Harleys are not happy with Harley-Davidson. And I wouldn’t be either.”

A little more than a year ago, Trump stood proudly with Harley executives promising big changes in trade.

Donald Trump, US President: “We have to make America the best country on Earth to do business, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing.”

He channel other presidents who embraced the iconic company, including Ronald Reagan, whose huge tariffs on some Japanese motorcycles in the eighties were aimed at helping Harley, though analysts debate the impact.

Ronald Reagan, then US President: “It’s time to gun the engine, not put on the brakes.”

But the European Union is retaliating against the Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, but raising its tax on, among other things, imported motorcycles, from six percent to a whopping thirty-one percent. That’s a twenty-two hundred dollar ($2,200) price hike for each Harley sold there — a potential one-hundred million dollar loss for the company.

The head of the European commission has been frustrated of the whole idea of a trade war.

Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President: “This is basically a stupid process, the fact that we have to do this. But we have to do it.”

Even some Republicans are worried about Trump’s actions.

Republican Senator: “I don’t know what his motive is, but we’re playing with fire.”

Still, Trump has campaigned relentlessly to stop the offshoring of American jobs.

Donald Trump, US President: “I want trade deals for our country that create more jobs, and higher wages for American workers.”

So he’s pointing toward earlier this year that Harley was planning to move some production to Thailand, as if to say, “It’s not my fault.”

Donald Trump, US President: “So Harley-Davidson is using that as an excuse. And I don’t like that because I’ve been very good to Harley-Davidson.”

Harley-Davidson is not saying much about this current uproar, but their sales last quarter fell twelve percent in the US, while they rose in Europe, Africa, the Middle-East and Latin America.

So sure, Harley would like to build their motorbikes closer to the people buying them.

But the Trump tariffs and the resulting backlash have undeniably given an extra push in that direction.


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1. “They’ve surrendered; they’ve quit; they’ve waved the white flag.” What does this refer to?

2. Is US President Trump happy about this? How did he respond? Why is he angry?

3. Has Trump always felt this way about Harley-Davidson? Did he make a 45 degree turn? Why is the fate of Harley-Davidson so important?

4. This is the first time that politics has affected Harley-Davidson. True or false?
Is there an irony or hypocrisy surrounding Harley?

5. Has there been a cascading or domino effect?

6. Everyone, especially fellow Republicans, supports Trump’s actions. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. Harley-Davidson’s plans to offshore its motorcycle production is based solely on EU tariffs. Is this right or wrong?


A. Does your country have free trade or are there (some) protectionist mechanisms in place?

B. Are motorcycles popular? Which brands are popular?

C. Products from my country are in great demand abroad. Yes or no? What foreign goods are coveted in your country?

D. Are there serious trade disputes?

E. What will happen in the future?

F. What sort of trade rules are “ideal”?




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