00:39 GMT14 August 2020
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    Amid European threats to respond to US restrictions on European metals with counter-tariffs, American motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson has decided to move the production of its bikes to Europe.

    Harley-Davidson's announcement surprised US President Donald Trump, who claimed that the manufacturer used the tariffs as an excuse.

    The European Union, in turn, warned that that the company's move to transfer its production to Europe was a direct consequence of the US protectionist trade policy.

    "We don't want to punish, but that is the unfortunate consequence, that [US companies] will put pressure on the American administration to say hey, hold on a minute, this is not good for the American economy," EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.

    READ MORE: 'Trade Must Be Fair': Trump Calls on All Countries to Remove Existing Tariffs

    The American motorcycle brand's decision was announced after Brussels' retaliatory tariffs on US goods came into force on June 22. Commenting on the European restrictive measures, Malmstrom noted that some iconic American goods, such as Harley-Davidson bikes and Levi's jeans, were intentionally hit in order to "make noise" and exert pressure on the US.

    A real threat of the trade war appeared on the horizon when the United States in March imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. Though the tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, as well as several other states, were initially suspended, on May 31, Washington had removed the exemption.

    Related:

    Trump Says 'Surprised' by Harley-Davidson's Plan to Move Manufacturing to Europe
    Trump Betrayed by Harley-Davidson Amid Plans to Move EU-Bound Production Abroad
    Born to be Fired: Harley Davidson Plant Faces Layoffs, Closure
    Tags:
    restriction measures, tariffs, Harley-Davidson, EU, United States
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