Most Americans who don’t have a job or who are underemployed don’t care too much if more work is offered to them from a domestic owned company or a foreign owned company. Tens of millions of Americans today work for foreign owned companies operating in the U.S. Millions of foreign nationals work for American companies in their home countries. Thirty years of globalization has muddied the waters for workers with a patriotic streak; who want to help Americans and American companies be more productive and make more money.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was for most of American history a hot topic of debate that typically resulted in blocking takeovers of American companies by foreign companies. Trade problems in the auto sector from the 1970’s and 1980’s brought import restraints on Japanese car exporters that resulted in green field investment in the U.S.. Today, most major foreign auto makers produce, well assemble anyway, their product in the U.S. employing many Americans.
Donald Trump has talked constantly about bringing jobs back to America that have been lost due to suicidal trade policy and the push for globalization which meant finding the lowest cost production base (read China). It does matter who controls and manages these new jobs. Americans interpreted Trumps remarks to mean U.S. companies creating U.S. jobs by changing the terms of trade to provide cost incentives for U.S. manufacturers to come home.
However, many of the most excited announcements related to Trump’s winning on jobs are coming from foreign nationals who assume they will have unfettered access to the U.S. market. Someone needs to remind Trump we won’t win if foreign companies come in to the U.S. to take market share from domestic competitors. They shouldn’t have unfettered access. They shouldn’t have the same rights as a domestic company. We don’t want to be the UK.
The boys from the BBC hit Top Gear once challenged the perception by UK residents that the UK "doesn’t produce anything anymore" as wrong. They proceeded to gather together the motor/transport related products the UK produces; and it was a lot of stuff. The problem, most of it was foreign owned and managed. It ended up being a sad story for UK manufactures; they lost big time.
Control of profits and market share matters. Trump should be focused on helping U.S. companies and should be careful not to allow foreign companies onto the same level playing field. The big announcements so far are from the likes of Softbank, Hyuandi, and Foxconn. We need more from Apple, Ford, GM, GE, and the like
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