US President Donald Trump has accused iconic motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson of waving "the white flag" after it disclosed plans to move some of its production overseas.
The company said its decision was prompted by the financial burden of new tariffs levied against American products in the trade dispute between Mr Trump and the leaders of the European Union, ABC News US has reported.
On Saturday, the EU began to tax early $3.3 billion worth of imports from the US, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, in response to the Trump administration’s 25 and 10 percent tariffs on steel and aluminum, respectively, imposed in late May.
Harley-Davidson claimed Monday that the EU’s action increased the tariffs on its motorcycles "from six percent to 31 percent."
Mr Trump responded to the situation via Twitter, writing that he was "surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag".
"I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the EU, which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion," he wrote.
"Taxes just a Harley excuse – be patient!"
In February 2017, Trump welcomed Harley-Davidson executives to Washington and viewed a number of the company’s motorcycles at the White House. At the time, he specifically thanked the company "for building things in America."
Harley-Davidson’s move is already drawing the ire of tariff critics, including members of the president’s own party.
“Unfortunately, this confirms my concerns and is a far too predictable outcome of policies that give companies like Harley-Davidson incentives to make their products elsewhere," Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who represents Harley-Davidson’s home state, said in a statement.
"We need to hold China accountable for its trade abuses, but that does not need to come at the expense of American workers and businesses.”
The office of Speaker of the House and fellow Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan was additionally critical of the trade stand-off.
"This is further proof of the harm from unilateral tariffs," a spokesperson for Ryan said in a statement.
"The best way to help American workers, consumers, and manufacturers is to open new markets for them, not to raise barriers to our own market."
Harley-Davidson said it "maintains a strong commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing" and that while the increase in overseas manufacturing "is not the company’s preference," it "represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe."
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018