Many U.S. companies are forging ahead with plans to invest in Mexico despite President Donald Trump's pressure and public criticism to intimidate American businesses into keeping their assembly lines on U.S. soil, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The U.S. companies include Rexnord Corp., whose factory in Indianapolis, Ind., was singled out by Trump last December for firing workers amid plans to move their jobs to Mexico, the Journal said.
"It just puzzles me to think that they have to [reduce costs] by dumping us out," Gary Canter, a machinist at the Rexnord factory, told the Journal. "It's very un-American."
Canterwho voted for Trump, hopes the president would eventually bolster manufacturing and create new jobs for his colleagues elsewhere even if the Rexnord plant isn’t spared.
"We gave this man a chance because it wasn't a typical politician that's done nothing for us," Canter said.
According to the Journal, other U.S. companies with similar plans are:
- Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar, which is moving ahead with a restructuring that includes shifting jobs from a Joliet, Ill., factory to Monterrey, Mexico.
- Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor, which is going ahead with Japan’s JFE Steel to build a new plant in Mexico.
- Manitowoc Foodservice Inc, which has laid off about 80 workers at a factory near Sellersburg, Ind., as part of its already announced plans to shift much of the production to facilities in Mexico.
- Ford Motor Co., which though it's scrapping plans to build a new factory in Mexico and instead create 700 new U.S. job, announced last month it would still shift production of its Focus small car from Michigan to an existing Mexican facility.
- General Motors Co., which is moving more production to Mexico even as it's continuing with pre-election plans to add more jobs in the United States.
Trump hasn’t specified what taxes, tariffs or trade deals he might enact in his effort to boost U.S. manufacturing and factory employment, WSJ.com explained.
As a result, some companies did tell the Journal they remain open to revising their plans.
As an example, the Journal said Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor is moving forward with Japan’s JFE Steel to build a new plant in Mexico to make steel for car makers. Nucor Chief Executive John Ferriola said those plans could change if new policies penalize U.S. companies that invest in Mexico. “We’re watching the situation in Washington very, very closely,” he told analysts on Jan. 31.
And while some American companies ironically seem to be ignoring Trump’s tactics, a top Japanese company said Thursday it had dropped Mexico as a possible location for a new auto parts factory after Trump rapped Toyota over a plant in the country -- and economists warned more firms could follow suit, AFP reported.
The decision by Nikkei 225-listed Nisshinbo Holdings marked the first time a Japanese company has publicly abandoned a Mexican facility in response to the new US president's protectionist outbursts, the Nikkei business daily said Thursday.
The announcement comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heads to Washington Thursday for meetings with Trump aimed at cementing ties and underscoring Japan's commitment to investing in the U.S.
Mexico was among the locations being considered for Nisshinbo's vehicle brake parts plant, reportedly worth up to 10 billion yen ($89 million).
The firm is a leading maker of friction-reducing brake parts with about a 15 percent share of the global market.
Nisshinbo, which also makes a range of other products including electronics and textiles, already has a US plant and is looking for a new facility to service the North American market.
Nisshinbo's shares sank more than four percent to close at 1,040 yen ($9) Thursday.
Company spokesman Kiyohiro Kida said Mexico had been at the top of the list for possible sites.
"Mexico was the strongest candidate but we have taken a step back," he told AFP, confirming the decision was a response to Trump's trade policies.
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