Back in April 27th of this year, I wrote on my blog post here that I suspected Harley Davidson was using international trade, tariffs and the US withdraw of the TPP as excuses for two unpopular moves by the company: (1) closing a Missouri factory and (2) moving production to Thailand.
As Harley Davidson is a foreign entity in Thailand, it is not easy for Harley Davidson to just decide to open a factory in Thailand overnight, here’s why you can’t just open a factory overnight –
It takes time and planning, sometimes years of planning – corruption and lack of transparency in government and state agencies, high tariffs on imports (ad valorem tariffs from 50-80% according to export.gov), changes in Thailand’s legal frame work increasing rule of law and consumer protection, higher insurance premiums and a lengthy patent registration process (export.gov claims the patent process may take several years). This doesn’t include the time to find the space, building or retrofiting an existing factory, hiring and training a local work force, working out the logistics to get supplies to the assembly line and then all the permitting, registration and other red tape needed.
Today, July 26, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump accused Harley-Davidson of using trade tensions as an excuse to move production overseas:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand. That was long before Tariffs were announced. Hence, they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse. Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it…..</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1011568906992017408?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 26, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Reuters reported that the plan for the Thailand-made motorcycles would be shipped to the EU to avoid any potential tariffs on US goods. It is estimated the tariffs could cost anywhere from $90 to $100 million per year. The Reuters article also mentioned the move would not result in retail or wholesale price increases in the EU.
Check back for more updates as they become available.