Sunday, August 5, 2012

History of bringing foreign auto manufacturing to U.S.

This NY Times article gives an interesting history of the past 30 years and what happened to bring so much of the growing foreign auto manufacturing (like Nissan/Toyota) to the U.S. I vaguely remember some of this as I grew up in KY around where a large Toyota plant was built, and now live near the large Nissan plant in Smyrna TN mentioned in the article.

Here's a quote from former TN governor and now Senator Lamar Alexander:
“We were the third-poorest state in the nation back then,” Mr. Alexander said. “President Carter had told all the U.S. governors to go to Japan and persuade the Japanese to make in the U.S. what they sell in the U.S.”

The article states that TN now has around 60,000 jobs related to automotive and parts supply manufacturing.

The article goes on to discuss if some of the more aggressive tactics used to bring automotive jobs to the US (diplomacy, arm-twisting, quotas, legislation, tariffs, tax-incentives - by the way - aren't tariffs and/or tax incentives the same thing by different names?) could/should be use used to bring some tech manufacturing jobs to U.S. Essentially- it's a discussion if the U.S. should have a manufacturing policy (or not).

One of the final quotes of the article makes a distinction:
"But consumer electronics are different. Though some jobs have moved to Asia, many were never here to begin with. And the biggest technology importers — like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Microsoft — are American companies."

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