Harley expects tariffs to raise costs

MILWAUKEE — Harley-Davidson expects new tariffs to increase the company’s annual costs by as much as $100 million as long as the trade dispute between the U.S. and other countries goes on.

Executives with the Milwaukee company spoke with investors Tuesday for the first time since announcing last month that production of motorcycles sold in Europe would move overseas in order to avoid retaliatory tariffs the European Union is imposing on American exports.

That announcement unleashed a series of critical tweets from President Donald Trump, and there was no sign that the administration’s stance on trade would change, despite calls from within the GOP to do so.

“Tariffs are the greatest!” the president tweeted Tuesday. “Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that — and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the ‘piggy bank’ that’s being robbed. All will be Great!”

With sales stagnant at home, Harley-Davidson has looked increasingly overseas for buyers of its iconic motorcycles. The company did not discuss Trumps’ criticism, but CEO Matt Levatich stood by its decision to move some production overseas because of the tariffs.