The U.S. manufacturer’s decision to relocate its production overseas in reaction to the customs duties imposed by the European Union has enraged the American president.
The Harley-Davidson that Brigitte Bardot sang about in 1967 (I don’t need anybody, When I’m on my Harley-Davidson!) is still the legendary motorcycle many French people dream about. The Harley-Davidson Federation has 36 fan clubs in France alone! The Milwaukee motorbike is a stand-alone symbol of the United States and the West, at its freest and wildest. But we now know that bikes imported to France will be built in Thailand, India, and Brazil in order to bypass the retaliatory customs duties imposed on Trump’s America by the European Union in reaction to the president’s levies on steel and aluminum.
These reprisals are designed to make waves. With imports of 40,000 units per year, Europe is the second largest market for Harley-Davidson after the United States. Outraged by the measures, Trump immediately took to Twitter to threaten the manufacturer with taxes “like never before.” The Europeans achieved their goal, which was to show the absurdity of Trump’s economics.
It is hard to understand how the U.S. government could ever have imagined that protectionism could create jobs in the United States, where unemployment is historically low (3.8% in May 2018 compared to 8.9% in France). We have known since 1930 that the closure of borders leads to mass unemployment, and the last 50 years have taught us that globalization is a drive for worldwide growth.
The only poor countries, such as North Korea, are those that isolate themselves. It is time for U.S. voters to restore a little sanity to the most anti-American of presidents: Donald Trump, the man who shrunk America.