Donald Trump has dangled the possibility that Carrier, a major manufacturer of air conditioners in the United States, is on the brink of reversing plans to shift 1,400 jobs from Indiana to Mexico.
The frequent laments made by Mr Trump on the campaign trail about the loss of American jobs to overseas countries, particular Mexico, helped him win almost all the main rustbelt states of the Midwest on election night, even if by only slim margins in some of them.
He in particular made frequent references to Carrier, owned by United Technologies, which announced several months ago that it would be radically downsizing its operations in Indianapolis and relocating its main manufacturing efforts across the border.
If the company were indeed to change course, it would be an instant political boon for Mr Trump as he prepares to take the oath of office in less than two months time.
That it could be on the cards was signaled by Mr Trump on Thursday in a Twitter message posted from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida where he is supposed to be having a rest day as the country marks the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Am working hard, even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S. (Indiana). MAKING PROGRESS - Will know soon!,” he said in the post.
Within minutes the company issued its own statement saying no such decision had been reached but acknowledging contacts with the Trump transition on the issue.
“Carrier has had discussions with the incoming administration and we look forward to working together,” the statement said. “Nothing to announce at this time.” The company first announced its plans in January to begin three-year process of moving jobs to Mexico.
Mr Trump highlighted the situation at Carrier at a rally in Indiana in April days before the primary election there which he was to win. At the time, the main union at the plant had said that Senator Bernie Sanders would represent their interests better than he could.
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” he told supporters. “I’ll get a call from the head of Carrier and he’ll say, ‘Mr. President, we’ve decided to stay in the United States. That’s what’s going to happen — 100%.”
In the run-up to his surprise election victory, Mr Trump also set his sights on the Ford Motor Corporation. In October he accused the company of making plans further to downsize its manufacturing operations by relocating all its small-car assembly operations to Mexico. While Ford has confirmed that the Ford Focus will be made in Mexico in the future, it has also insisted that the plants in the US turning the model out now will remain open for other models.
Last week, Mr Trump claimed credit for persuading the company to ditch plans to move a plant in Kentucky to Mexico. In truth, Ford only ever planned to move one production line there, leaving the Kentucky plant largely still intact. The company did agree though that production of a small Lincoln SUV it had envisaged for Mexico would remain in the US.
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