U.S. Manufacturers Brace for Tariff Backlash

U.S. Manufacturers Brace for Tariff Backlash

Shortly after the Trump administration announced the United States would impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, Harley-Davidson was among the companies expressing concern. The U.S. motorcycle manufacturer stated it would suffer a severe impact on sales if other countries countered by imposing a punitive or retaliatory tariff on its bikes.

If President Trump follows through on a plan to impose a 10-percent tax on imported steel and aluminum, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker threatened to impose tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorbikes.

The Trump administration is positioning the tariffs as a way to protect American jobs, but many economists, auto companies, the oil industry, and even fellow Republicans have criticized the plan.

In an open letter to President Trump, Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association—which represents more than 100 aluminum producers, including Alcoa and Rio Tinto Alcan, that employ 700,000 U.S. workers—echoed the criticism.

“We fear that the proposed tariff may do more harm than good,” Brock states. “Unfortunately, the tariffs proposed will do little to address the fundamental problem of massive aluminum overcapacity in China, while impacting supply chains with vital trading partners who play by the rules.”