US bosses change tune to ‘local’
BUSINESS leaders in Davos, traditionally the high priests of globalisation, are talking up the benefits of local production to shield themselves from criticism from incoming US President Donald Trump.
Elected on a jobs-focused “America First” platform, Trump has via Twitter rebuked major companies such as General Motors, either for making goods in Mexico or for the price of their products.
At this week’s World Economic Forum (WEF), a gathering of business and political elites synonymous with free markets, company bosses said they were now preparing to adjust to the Trump era.
“The basic message is to be more national, don’t just be global,” said Richard Edelman, the chief executive of marketing firm Edelman. “Let’s try and pre-empt that tweet.”
General Motors highlighted moves it said would add nearly 2 000 US manufacturing jobs, including a shift of some production from Mexico in order to “build where we sell”.
“There is no doubt we need to adapt,” Renault-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn. “All carmakers now have to revise their strategy.”
Companies are also reviewing potential mergers and job cuts, fearing the “antiAmerican” stigma. Firms have yet to spell out the cost of such shifts or extent of localisation to keep peace with the White House. An added incentive is the promise of lower corporate taxes under Trump.