April 23, 2019 / 11:27 AM / 2 months ago

Trump warms to Harley Davidson, says EU tariffs 'unfair'

FILE PHOTO: The logo of U.S. motorcycle company Harley-Davidson is seen on one of their models at a shop in Paris, France, August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to reverse course on Harley Davidson Inc, saying European tariffs facing the motorcycle manufacturer were “unfair” and vowing to reciprocate, after urging a boycott of the company last year amid a steel spat.

The Wisconsin-based company last year announced plans to move production of its motorcycles destined for the European Union to its overseas facilities from the United States to avoid EU tariffs imposed in response to Trump’s duties on steel and aluminum imports.

Trump retaliated by calling for higher taxes, threatening to lure foreign motorcycles to the United States, and backing a boycott of the iconic American motorcycle maker.

On Tuesday, Trump appeared more sympathetic, calling the EU tariffs “unfair” but giving no other details about any planned U.S. action in a tweet citing comments by a Fox Business Network host.

“So unfair to U.S. We will Reciprocate!” Trump wrote.

On Saturday, Trump is scheduled to travel to Wisconsin to hold a campaign rally as he seeks reelection in the 2020 presidential election.

Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on any planned actions, as both the EU and the United States prepared to launch larger trade talks.

Representatives for Harley Davidson could not be immediately reached for comment on Trump’s tweet.

The company on Tuesday reported quarterly profit that surged past expectations and stuck to its full-year shipment forecasts amid concerns over falling U.S. sales and European import tariffs, sending its shares up 3 percent.

Reporting by Susan Heavey and Makini Brice; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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