The president behind Japanese casual clothing retailer, Uniqlo, has threatened this week to close its stores if United States President Donald Trump creates policies which force companies like his to manufacture products in the United States. The founder and president of parent company Fast Retailing, Tadashi Yanai said that he will pull out of American operations if “directly instructed to.”
He relates that this is really the only obvious choice. The situation could be an impossible one, he explains, noting that manufacturing products in the price—at American labor and product prices—is probably not a wise decision for consumers and could render business expansion in the United States virtually meaningless.
Yunai already has retail stores in more than 50 locations across the United States with plans to open at least another 20 or more in the next year, alone.
Yunai’s threats, of course, do not come unwarranted. He is merely responding to repeated threats from US President Donald Trump to impose new tariffs on foreign imports, a major platform of his 2016 presidential campaign promising to revitalize the manufacturing industry in the United States. Trump made similar threats to Toyota, urging them to build their new plant in the United States instead of Mexico (or pay a premium of as much as 20 percent in the form of a “border tax”.)
You may recall a tweet from Trump early in his campaign which said “Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY!”
Of course, all US retail executives fear any such measures will drastically increase prices for products in the US, making this essentially too expensive for the average American consumer. This is particularly harmful, though, when you consider that these foreign tariffs could discourage not only clothing makers and car manufacturers but also companies who make and sell daily use home care products—soap, detergent, paper products, etc—to millions of Americans every single day.
It is an ambitious pursuit, of course, for US President Donald Trump to want to bring all manufacturing jobs into the United States. While this is a noble desire, companies make products in other countries because it is cheaper to do so; building all American products within American borders (or issuing a border tax) will significantly increase the price of all products and make it very difficult to garner consistent sales in the US.