Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Trump Saving Chinese Jobs While Harley Davidson Ships Kansas City Jobs To Thailand


Several congressional Republicans bitch and moan when Señor Trumpanzee does something outrageous or dangerous-- but never work it up enough to actually vote against him. Rand Paul R-KY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Little Marco (R-FL) are the first to come to mind. The question is often related to national security-- as is Rubio's tweet above. What a woos! Does anyone think he'll actually stand up to Trump? Over the weekend it was all over the news that Trump had ordered the Commerce Department to help create jobs (between 70 and 80,000)-- at ZTE, a Chinese telecom company which has been sanctioned for several reasons... including espionage. Trumpanzee, who persuaded millions of simple-minded voters (and racists) that he is the world's greatest negotiator, has ordered Wilbur Ross to get ZTE "back into business."

Since Rubio identified Trump's reversal on ZTE as a national security threat and followed the above tweet with a question: kvetch: "I hope this isn't the beginning of backing down to China." Can Rubio back down after that? Of course he can-- and will; he has no spine.
At issue is that department's move last month to block the ZTE Corp., a major supplier of telecoms networks and smartphones based in southern China, from importing American components for seven years. The U.S. accused ZTE of misleading American regulators after it settled charges of violating sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

ZTE, which has more than 70,000 employees and has supplied networks or equipment to some of the world's biggest telecoms companies, said in early May that it had halted its main operations as a result of the department's "denial order."

Trump, who has taken a hard line on trade and technology issues with Beijing, tweeted on Sunday that he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping "are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!"

ZTE has asked the department to suspend the seven-year ban on doing business with U.S. technology exporters. By cutting off access to U.S. suppliers of essential components such as microchips, the ban threatens ZTE's existence, the company has said.

During recent trade meetings in Beijing, Chinese officials said they raised their objections to ZTE's punishment with the American delegation, which they said agreed to report them to Trump.

The U.S. imposed the penalty after discovering that Shenzhen-based ZTE, which had paid a $1.2 billion fine in the case, had failed to discipline employees involved and paid them bonuses instead.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, criticized Trump's decision in a reply to his tweet late Sunday.

"Our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones pose a major cyber security threat," Schiff said in the tweet. "You should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs."

Trump later tweeted that while the two countries were working together, past trade negotiations "have been so one sided in favor of China."

"China and the United States are working well together on trade, but past negotiations have been so one sided in favor of China, for so many years, that it is hard for them to make a deal that benefits both countries," he said in the tweet. "But be cool, it will all work out!"
The BBC headline wouldn't go over well at Trump voters in the Midwest: Trump seeks to save Chinese jobs at ZTE ahead of trade talks. Trump is backing down from having banned American companies from selling ZTE components after ZTE admitted to making illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea. I bet Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Missouri works would like those 70-80,000 jobs. It was just announced the Harley Davidson is shutting down an American factory and moving the operation-- and jobs-- to Thailand. That's on top of the Harley factory already opened in India.
[T]hat case is tough to accept in Kansas City, where the company has assembled some of its most popular motorcycles since 1997.

“I am being directly affected by a corporate decision that I had no say in,” said Pence, who has worked at the plant for 21 years and has the highest seniority ranking in the facility.

Pence, who works in machine maintenance, said engineers from the plant are going to Thailand to help set up that operation, with trial production runs expected this summer.

He believes that some of the Kansas City plant’s equipment, too, will be shipped to Thailand.

“They are going over everything now, getting ready to crate it up,” he said.

About 35% of the bikes assembled in Kansas City are destined for sale outside of the U.S., according to Pence, although Harley would not confirm that.

Asia has been one of the company’s fastest-growing markets, but over the years it’s also been a market with steep tariffs on U.S.-made motorcycles.

“We have been fighting tariffs for the 21 years I have been employed with the company. But tariffs are just a fact of life,” Pence said.

The union is critical of Harley for investing in Thailand while also receiving tax cuts under President Donald Trump’s new corporate tax plan.

“These companies are taking tax breaks with one hand and handing out pink slips with the other,” said International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers President Bob Martinez Jr. “I’m going to call it like I see it ... this is a corporate ambush on working people."

“They should be reinvesting in America,” Pence, the Kansas City employee, said.
I suspect-- strongly-- that Paul Scott, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, would agree with the displaced Harley Davidson workers. His comments, though, were about Trump's cock-up over ZTE. "Trump’s weekend comments regarding ZTE," he said, "the Chinese telecom firm barred from doing business in our nation for breaking U.S. law, are alarming. In the middle of a trade dispute, the president is publicly offering a major concession to China that could potentially harm national security. This is a company that has broken trade embargoes with Iran and North Korea, and generated legitimate security concerns. As recently as February the entire national security establishment has advised American consumers to avoid products made by this company because it considers them beholden to the Chinese government. Meanwhile, Beijing has yet to agree to end any unfair trade practice or make any meaningful reform. And Trump’s very capable trade team hasn’t made any discernible progress on the myriad trade irritants that are costing America jobs. Trump’s tweet on ZTE is indefensible."

Ready for another-- even bigger and uglier-- ZTE shock? This one is horrifying even for Trump and it came from Public Citizen, which referred to it-- correctly-- as "breathtaking venality."
It’s hard to capture in words how shocking and outrageous is the confluence of events around President Donald Trump’s ZTE tweet and the Chinese government's expected loan to an Indonesian resort with Trump-branded hotels and a golf course.

Trump’s Twitter pledge to intervene to rescue a Chinese company from law enforcement measures was startling enough. The tweet saying that he will aid Chinese telecom company ZTE contradicts his tough-on-China posture and is especially surprising given the national security issues raised about the firm.

But the most disturbing element is Trump’s readiness to interject himself into a corporate law enforcement measure as part of a deal with a foreign government – a move that threatens the integrity of all corporate law enforcement against foreign-based companies, and really against all companies, period.

It is no longer easy to be surprised by this administration. But the revelation that the ZTE tweet comes just days after the Chinese government reportedly committed to funnel $500 million in loans to an Indonesian resort development that includes Trump-branded hotels and a Trump-branded golf course is absolutely jaw-dropping.

Here are some questions the president and his administration must answer:
How is this possibly not a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause?
When did Trump become aware of the anticipated Chinese loan to the Indonesian resort project?
What are the terms of the expected loan?
Have Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the loan to the Indonesian resort project? Has it been discussed at any other governmental level?
There is no doubt that geopolitical considerations are informing Trump’s ZTE intervention. But is there anyone in America who believes that benefiting indirectly from a Chinese loan would NOT influence Trump’s decision to intercede?
Brent Welder is the progressive Democrat running for Congress in the Kansas City district. "For far too long," he told us, "our economy has been rigged against those who work for a living in favor of those that ship jobs overseas. It’s outrageous that we are giving huge tax breaks to companies that are closing down American factories, while we cut assistance to workers who are getting hurt most. Unfortunately, nothing will change until we change the people we send to Washington. It’s time to kick out the corporate bootlickers and replace them with leaders who represent working people."

My neighbor keeps asking me if Trump is building a resort in North Korea. Maybe that question should be added to the above four. Has Little Marco commented yet?

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At 6:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

corporate profits above national security. Corporate profits above everything else.

another clear emoluments violation. more proof that all campaign promises were lies.

yet impeachment is still off the table.

on these issues, both parties are equal.

yes, by all means, we should elect a 'crap majority just to see how they pretend to care while they do exactly what the Nazis have done.

At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering that the Chinese are the largest individual holder of Federal debt, Trump is only taking care of his bosses. Maybe the Deplorables will awaken and recognize that they are merely tools to be used in the production of profits for the 0.1%???


I shouldn't jest like that. Some Red-State oaf might take me seriously.


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