Iconic American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson has denied reports about its CEO Matt Levatich criticising US President Donald Trump's international trade policy and the ongoing trade war between the European Union and the Trump administration. A tweek, purportedly fake and quoting Levatich as saying that "Trump knows nothing about economics and even less about trade" is fake and falsely attributed to the Harley-Davidson CEO. The US President has been coming down hard on Harley-Davidson for deciding to move production overseas to offset the heavy tariffs imposed by the European Union.
Harley Davidson CEO Matthew S Levatich says:
"Our decision to move some of our operations is 100% based on President Trumps tariffs. Mr. Trump knows nothing about economics and even less about trade. The man is a moron."#MAGA @DailyCaller @realDonaldTrump @CNN @GOP pic.twitter.com/Q1wpjUaSx4— Judy Tinsleman (@tinsleman) June 26, 2018
The tweet attributed to Levatich has gone viral and has been retweeted several thousand times, and had quoted Levatich as criticising President Trump for starting a trade war and blamed him for moving Harley-Davidson's production overseas. It's true that Harley-Davidson indeed is blaming the EU tariffs for their decision to move some production overseas. And President Trump did tweet his displeasure with Harley-Davidson for that decision. But the fake tweet did generate a lot of interest on social media, compelling Harley-Davidson to put out a statement via the company's own Twitter handle, calling the quote a complete fabrication.
“It’s shameful we live in a time when people create fake quotes. There’s one attributed to me on Twitter. I have not, nor would I ever speak about the President of the United States or anyone else in that way.”— Harley-Davidson (@harleydavidson) June 27, 2018
- Matt Levatich, President and CEO, Harley-Davidson, Inc. pic.twitter.com/y2wIut1DEg
The issue is with the retaliatory tariffs the European Union has imposed on US goods, including motorcycles which are manufactured in the US and imported into Europe. The EU imposed hefty tariffs on motorcycles after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imported into the US. But it's not just Europe which is imposing retaliatory tariffs. Even India has announced retaliatory tariffs which will come into effect from August. Europe is the most important overseas market for Harley-Davidson and last year, the American motorcycle manufacturer sold nearly 40,000 bikes in Europe. The increased taxes are likely to affect Harley's overseas sales.