A cornerstone of Donald Trump’s campaign was his pledge to bring back long lost American manufacturing jobs from China.
But apparently, he does not have as much control over that as he says — or maybe he does — even for products that bear his family name.
The Daily Mail reports that a Chinese company that makes shoes for Ivanka Trump’s fashion company is apparently finding labor costs in China to be too high for its taste. It is moving production to Africa where labor is even cheaper than China. When even Chinese workers can be undercut, it makes Trump’s solutions for retaining jobs — tariffs and lower income taxes — seem quite a longshot.
The real estate mogul has repeatedly railed on China — so much so, that it is prominent in comedy skits — accusing the Chinese of ‘stealing’ U.S. jobs through unfair trade practices and currency manipulation. Yet, he has openly used the country to make Trump-branded products.
The president of major footwear producer Huanjian Group says that these jobs may never return to the U.S., no matter what the U.S. does. Speaking to Daily Mail from his office in Dongguan, Zhang Huarong said “Some manufacturers can’t even survive in China anymore.
His is the company that Ivanka Trump uses to make shoes. It has made about 100,000 pairs of her branded shoes over the years, according to a spokesman. In August, alone, it filled an order for 20,000 pairs. That was just weeks after Trump made his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention promising to bring jobs back from China.
Mr. Zhang said that he can hire five Ethiopians for the price of one Chinese worker. That’s why his company is building a ‘light industrial city’ shaped like a woman’s shoe in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, which will feature factories, dormitories, a hotel, and a hospital, all closed off by a replica of the Great Wall of China.