US bosses change tune to ‘lo­cal’

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS -

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.

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