Shares of Harley-Davidson and the maker of Jack Daniel’s whiskey roared on Monday after a punishing, three-year-old European tariff on steel and aluminum that dates back to the Trump administration was finally ended.
The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker — along with US whiskey makers including Jack Daniel’s maker Brown-Forman Corp. — oddly got pulled into a trade dispute between Donald Trump and the European Union over steel and aluminum in a longstanding conflict over subsidies to the aircraft industry.
The tariffs, most recently at 25 percent, were slated to increase to 50 percent on Dec. 1 when the US and EU agreed to end the dispute at the G-20 summit in Rome over the weekend.
Harley-Davidson shares on Monday were recently up 7.1 percent, at $39.10. Brown-Forman rose 3.7 percent, to $70.41.
The tariffs were a constant drag on Harley-Davidson’s financial reports. Likewise, they decimated small whiskey producers in the US while denting the biggest brands, including Jack Daniels, Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam, all but drying up their export business to Europe.
“Today’s news is a big win for Harley-Davidson and our customers, employees and dealers in Europe,” said Harley-Davidson Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz.
“With the removal of these EU tariffs, we are energized and ready to ramp up our American Whiskey promotions in the EU to re-introduce America’s native spirits to EU consumers and resume a great American export success story,” Distilled Spirits Council Chief Executive Chris Swonger said in a statement.
American whiskey is the US spirits industry’s largest export and over the past several years sales to Europe plunged 37 percent to $440 million, according to the trade group.
In a filing on Monday, Harley-Davidson said it expected the annual impact for 2021 tariffs to be $61 million, down from the $64 million it expected if the rate would have doubled in December.