I’ll tell you, I’m tired of all this winning. Take it away, NYT.
Ford Motor‘s plans to build its popular Focus compact cars in China, rather than Michigan or Mexico, is a milestone in China’s automotive rise. Chinese auto industry leaders praised the move as long-awaited confirmation that the country’s factories have become as efficient and high-quality as those in the United States and Europe. The question now is how political leaders greet the development, amid rising skepticism in the United States over Chinese trade policies and the benefits of free trade in general. Though the White House so far has been muted in its reaction to Ford’s move, President Trump in particular was strongly critical of Chinese trade policies during his campaign last year. China’s high tariffs on imported cars and auto parts have already emerged as a potential trade issue.
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I’ll answer the question. There may be some incoherent and self-contradictory tweets from the president* that will not address the fact that he sold the country an obvious bill of goods about his abilities as the Master Dealer.
Ford’s decision could shift work away from American auto parts factories, which are heavily concentrated in Ohio, Indiana and southern Michigan. The Focus made in Michigan currently has 40 percent of its parts manufactured in the United States and another 26 percent in Mexico, where business activity tends to involve a lot of materials imported from the United States. By contrast, United States government data shows that only 2 percent of the Envision’s parts come from the United States.
You may recall that, during the campaign, the president* inveighed against Ford for exporting jobs to Mexico. (He even graced the company with one of his trademark prevarications, charging that Ford was going to move all of its auto production south of the border.) In January, Ford announced it would not be building a new factory in Mexico after all. The president* went all tiger-blood-winning! over the announcement. And now? From CNNMoney:
When asked about Ford’s move Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer deferred to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who did not criticize the automaker. “The Ford decision shows how flexible multinational companies are in terms of geography,” Ross said in a statement. “I believe that as President Trump’s policies and reforms take hold, more companies will begin to locate their facilities in the U.S.”
And I am the Tsar of all the Russias. The idea that the real owners of the country were going to cower in the face of a jumped-up Manhattan real estate grifter was risible from the start. Good morning, suckers.