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President Trump mentions Harley-Davidson in tariff argument during joint address to Congress

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald J. Trump (C) delivers his first address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R) listen on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress focused on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo - Pool/Getty Images)

MADISON — A spokeswoman for motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson says the company is open to trade policies that address barriers to international growth. Pat Sweeney was responding to a question about a letter a lobbyist for Harley sent to the Office of the United States Trade Representative earlier this year.

Sweeney said in a statement Wednesday, March 1st that while the company cannot speculate on President Donald Trump’s administration’s future policy, Harley-Davidson’s biggest opportunity for growth is in international markets.

President Trump mentioned Harley in his speech to Congress Tuesday night as an example of why the U.S. needs to fight foreign trade barriers.


Harley-Davidson, which President Trump singled out Tuesday when discussing import taxes, has warned against such taxes.

Trump said in his speech to Congress that executives from Harley-Davidson told him they have trouble selling motorcycles outside of the United States because of high taxes. Trump said while other countries impose heavy taxes and tariffs on American products, the United States doesn’t do the same.

But a Harley lobbyist warned that imposing additional tariffs on foreign imports could end up hurting sales, in comments submitted to the Office of the United States Trade Representative earlier this year.

Harley spokeswoman Pat Sweeney said taxes and tariffs in other countries put the company at a disadvantage but didn’t immediately clarify its stance on imposing tariffs.