When the Ford Motor Co. decided to move jobs south to Mexico so that it could pay its workers less, billionaire businessman Donald Trump was furious. He made trade inequalities and Ford’s betrayal of American workers a central issue of his campaign.
And, without his even being in the Oval Office, it worked.
In an interview with CNBC, Ford CEO Mark Fields said that the automaker would be “here to stay.” He also said he had outlined his company’s plans in a letter to Trump.
While he didn’t offer specifics about whether Ford would be rolling back it’s $2.5 billion expansion of the company’s operations in Mexico, it was clear that Fields was committed to addressing Trump’s complaints directly.
“Ford Motor Co. is here to stay in the United States,” Fields said.
“We’re very proud as a company of what we do in terms of contributing to economic development here in the U.S.,” he added.
“We invested over $10 billion since 2011 at our facilities. We hired 25,000 people with plans to hire another 8,500 folks. It’s important for us to be successful in our home market and we love what we do for the economy.”
Ford’s expansion in Mexico had infuriated Trump, who had said he would call Fields and give him a message.
“Let me give you the bad news,” Trump said of his hypothetical conversation with Fields. “Every car, and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35 percent tax. OK? And that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction, and that’s it.”
Trump was also critical of another company that was moving jobs across the border, air conditioner manufacturer Carrier.
Trump’s rebuke — along with a viral video showing the reaction of Carrier employees in Indianapolis reacting to the news of the U.S. plant closures — helped make Carrier one of the most reviled faces of outsourcing.
However, thanks to Trump, at least one CEO is on the defensive and backing off somewhat. Just imagine how hard they’d be backpedaling were Trump actually the president.
Ford CEO to Trump: ‘We Are Here to Stay in US’
By R Williams | Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 11:25 AM
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has made unfair foreign trade a central theme in his campaign for the White House, singling out U.S. companies such as Ford Motor Co. for moving operations abroad.
Ford CEO Mark Fields said he wrote a letter to Trump defending his company, elaborating in an interview with CNBC: “Ford Motor Co. is here to stay in the United States. It’s presidential politics and we are just going stay focused on facts.”
Trump first blasted Ford in April when the carmaker announced a $2.5 billion expansion of operations in Mexico.
At that time, Trump said he would call Fields and say: “Let me give you the bad news. Every car, and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35% tax. Okay? And that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction, and that’s it.”
In his interview with CNBC, Fields said: “We’re very proud as a company of what we do in terms of contributing to economic development here in the U.S. We invested over $10 billion since 2011 at our facilities. We hired 25,000 people with plans to hire another 8,500 folks. It’s important for us to be successful in our home market and we love what we do for the economy.”
It wasn’t the first time Fields responded to Trump, who accused the carmaker of backing off plans to expand U.S. operations. In an earnings call with investors in October, Fields said: “Facts are stubborn things, and at Ford we’re proud of the facts. Unfortunately, we suspect the facts are getting lost in the politics.”
Trump has mentioned Ford throughout his presidential campaign, but that’s not the only company he’s singled out.
In February, he also blasted air-conditioner maker Carrier, a unit of United Technologies Corp., after it announced plans to close a factory in Indianapolis and fire 1,400 employees.
By moving the plan to Monterrey, Mexico, Carrier could pay employees $6 an hour instead of $34, according to a United Steelworkers representative cited by TheIndyChannel.com.
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