Harley-Davidson will 'continue to be involved' with Trump administration

Posted at 12:33 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 14:26:26-04
Harley-Davidson Inc. CEO Matt Levatich said the company will “continue to be involved” with President Donald Trump’s White House, according to a release from the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, TODAY'S TMJ4 partner the Milwaukee Business Journal  reported on their website Tuesday.
Levatich, according to the release, said “(Harley-Davidson) is always "pleased to have the opportunity to share" how government policies "affect our business." In discussing the recent White House meeting, he said he was impressed by how members of the Trump administration "leaned in, listened respectfully and cared what Harley-Davidson had to say. . . And you can't ask for anything more than that.””
National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project (FEP) participated in the motorcycle manufacturer's annual meeting, it said.
David Almasi, National Center vice president, and a Harley shareholder who represented FEP at the meeting, said the meeting between Trump and Harley executives should be considered among the high points of President Trump’s first 100 days, “because it showed corporate America willing to work with our President to fix our economy, create jobs and bring wealth back to our communities.”
The Milwaukee Business Journalreports that Almasi said a policy priority Levatich and Harley executives brought to the president in February “was the need to ease the corporate tax rate.”
“When Trump's tax overhaul plan was unveiled this week, Harley's suggestion was a key component. Starbucks and Uber — companies that appear unwilling to work with Trump — may benefit from this policy change, but it is Harley's courage that helped drive the effort to bring necessary relief to struggling American businesses," he said.
Almasi also encouraged Harley to continue to engage with the administration.
“Executives nationwide are under intense pressure from liberals to shun the Trump Administration,” he said. “Uber's CEO caved to political pressure when he resigned from the President's economic advisory council, and executives at Disney, Pepsi and other companies are under fire to do the same. To their credit, Harley-Davidson executives are not flinching."
Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) has had several interactions with Donald Trump and his administration during his first 100 days as president.
Levatich and Harley-Davidson executives visited the president at the White House on Feb. 2, less than two weeks after Trump's inauguration.
That meeting followed a cancellation of a visit from Trump to a Harley facility in the Milwaukee area.
In his first joint address to Congress, Trump talked about Harley-Davidson, which caused confusion over tax rates the company pays in certain international markets.
Recently, Harley unveiled a new 10-year strategy that involves adding 2 million new riders, growing its international business, and creating 100 new motorcycle models.
Plans for the nearer future also include global expansion, with "150 to 200 (new) dealerships internationally by 2020," said Levatich.
Dan Shafer is a reporter covering manufacturing and the travel and tourism industries for the Milwaukee Business Journal. To read more, click here.
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