Harley-Davidson builds factory in Thailand

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In what is quite a contradiction to US President Donald Trump’s motto “Buy American, hire American,” iconic US motorbike maker Harley-Davidson announced on May 23 that it will build a new factory in Thailand.

However, the Milwaukee-based company apologetically said that motorcycles made in the new factory will be sold in Asia and not in the US, where its domestic plants will continue to serve.

“This is absolutely not about taking jobs out of the US,” Marc McAllister, a managing director of international sales at Harley-Davidson based in Singapore, told the New York Times, adding that “this is about growing our business in Asia where expanding economies, a growing middle class and positive consumer spending trends increase market demand for larger motorcycles.”

However, unions in the US are not pleased.

“Why couldn’t we build them in the US and export them?” asked Leo Gerard, the international president of the United Steelworkers, which represents Harley-Davidson workers at plants in Wisconsin and Missouri.

“It’s a slap in the face to the US workers who build an American icon,” said Robert Martinez Jr, the president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union represents Harley-Davidson workers at plants including one in York, Pennsylvania, where the company plans to lay off over 100 workers.

But Harley Davidson defended its decision and said that the Thai plant is due to avoid high customs and tariffs when exporting from the US to Asia, even more so after Donald Trump ended US membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that would have slashed the tariffs for Harley in a number of East Asian countries, ironically.

Thailand-made motorcycles can avoid the country’s up to 60 per cent tariff on imported motorcycles and would also enjoy a huge break on tariffs when exported to Thailand’s neighbours within the Association of Southeast Asian Nation, or ASEAN. Harley-Davidson has sales outlets across the region, and also recently opened a branch in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The Thai plant will also produce for the huge market in mainland China with which ASEAN is pursuing an enlarged free-trade area. Transport time would also be greatly reduced.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

In what is quite a contradiction to US President Donald Trump’s motto “Buy American, hire American,” iconic US motorbike maker Harley-Davidson announced on May 23 that it will build a new factory in Thailand.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In what is quite a contradiction to US President Donald Trump’s motto “Buy American, hire American,” iconic US motorbike maker Harley-Davidson announced on May 23 that it will build a new factory in Thailand.

However, the Milwaukee-based company apologetically said that motorcycles made in the new factory will be sold in Asia and not in the US, where its domestic plants will continue to serve.

“This is absolutely not about taking jobs out of the US,” Marc McAllister, a managing director of international sales at Harley-Davidson based in Singapore, told the New York Times, adding that “this is about growing our business in Asia where expanding economies, a growing middle class and positive consumer spending trends increase market demand for larger motorcycles.”

However, unions in the US are not pleased.

“Why couldn’t we build them in the US and export them?” asked Leo Gerard, the international president of the United Steelworkers, which represents Harley-Davidson workers at plants in Wisconsin and Missouri.

“It’s a slap in the face to the US workers who build an American icon,” said Robert Martinez Jr, the president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union represents Harley-Davidson workers at plants including one in York, Pennsylvania, where the company plans to lay off over 100 workers.

But Harley Davidson defended its decision and said that the Thai plant is due to avoid high customs and tariffs when exporting from the US to Asia, even more so after Donald Trump ended US membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that would have slashed the tariffs for Harley in a number of East Asian countries, ironically.

Thailand-made motorcycles can avoid the country’s up to 60 per cent tariff on imported motorcycles and would also enjoy a huge break on tariffs when exported to Thailand’s neighbours within the Association of Southeast Asian Nation, or ASEAN. Harley-Davidson has sales outlets across the region, and also recently opened a branch in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The Thai plant will also produce for the huge market in mainland China with which ASEAN is pursuing an enlarged free-trade area. Transport time would also be greatly reduced.

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