August 9, 2018

Dear President Trump

I sell stuff. Widgets. For months I have worked to gain business at a particular customer. They are an automotive supplier. I was finally given a chance to quote a single part number. The volume is over seven million pieces a year. This is big volume. This chunk of sales will move your humble author from the "underperforming" category to "you get to keep your job and here is a nice bonus" status.

Now, thanks to the latest round of tariffs, my sale is in serious jeopardy. My pricing is better than the incumbent, but certainly not 25% better. Oh, and it isn't like my Chinese crap was displacing American-made goods. The competitor is a European company with plants in the Czech Republic.

Anecdote is not data. Our trade imbalance with China is a problem. Chinese stealing of technology is a bigger problem. But it is naive to think those jobs are coming back to America. For many components, like my widgets, there is no capacity domestically. Opening a new factory will take a couple of years. Even longer time will be required to train new employees and ramp up production. You cannot make my widgets in a garage, it takes a lot of machinery and can only be competitive on a large scale. We are talking tolerances of microns here. If you don't know what a micron is look it up.

I have no doubt your efforts will help correct some of the trade imbalances. If past administrations had looked at America first we wouldn't be in this position. Fixing things is often painful. I also am aware my position is a NIMBY outlook. I just hope the trade war is done before the Jedi are called in, clones are deployed, and I lose my job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am not even close to being an expert on the subject of imports and exports. I spent a few days working at an Indiana car parts factory. Think Chev sports car. The factory is owned by a Japanese company. The company has a very high turn over rate, poor management and living proof that the OSHA crap doesn't work outside the government inspected agencies. The company hires people no one else will hire, felons, etc. Rumors abound about closing the place and moving it overseas. It is a complicated issue, and I can see why the owners would want to move it, the only thing saving those jobs currently is the fight over import and export taxes. Made in American doesn't mean that the company is American.

James Old Guy

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