Recently, executives at Michelin announced a plan to permanently close a large tire production plant in Ardmore, Oklahoma. The pending layoffs will cost approximately 1,400 American jobs at a time when our domestic industry is struggling to compete with cheaper imports from foreign countries.
Michelin indicated layoffs would begin in mid-2024, with the plant set to fully close at the end of 2025. The Ardmore plant has been in business for over 50 years, producing passenger tires for automobiles. According to a statement from the French-based company, the Oklahoma location is unable to continue serving as a productive asset to the overall business.
“North America’s passenger-vehicle market is changing rapidly and profoundly. Despite substantial investments over the past five years to improve technical capabilities and competitiveness, Michelin has concluded that the Ardmore factory is not equipped to deliver tires at competitive costs that will meet these evolving market demands in the coming years. Continuing investments to modernize the Ardmore plant would negatively impact other U.S. sites in the network,” according to the company.
Some have speculated that the business struggles that led to the decision to close the Ardmore plant originated from the United States’ free trade policies with foreign countries, putting pressure on American industry to compete with lower-wage labor markets worldwide.
This remains a crucial facet of Donald Trump’s “America First” trade platform, which he continues to campaign on ahead of 2024. The former president has called for an overhaul of America’s tax and trade policy to promote domestic production and shift the supply chain’s reliance away from countries like China. The American Tribune covered Mr. Trump’s statements, where he slammed President Biden’s stance on trade and the economy.
“Joe Biden claims to support American manufacturing. But in reality he’s pushing the same pro China globalist agenda that ripped the industrial heart out of our country. It ripped us apart. Biden and the globalist support raising taxes on American production. They support more crippling regulations killing American jobs. They support skyrocketing domestic energy costs and they support massive anti American multinational agreements that send our wealth and factories overseas. Very simply the Biden agenda taxes America to build up China, China is the big beneficiary. We cannot let that happen,” Trump said.
Trump doubled down on his anti-China stance, promising to build American industry back to its former glory. The former president discussed creating incentives for domestic producers while placing tariffs on foreign imports, which hurt American industry.
“My agenda will tax China to build up America. The heart of my vision is a sweeping pro American overhaul of our tax and trade policy to move from the Biden system that punishes domestic producers and rewards outsourcers to a system that rewards domestic production and taxes foreign companies and those who export American jobs. They will be rewarded and rewarded greatly and our country will benefit. To achieve this goal we will phase in a system universal baseline tariffs on most foreign products on top of this higher tariffs will increase incrementally,” Mr Trump continued.
Featured image credit: Tino Rossini from Toronto, Canada, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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