Trump kills Manufacturing Council as CEOs pull out

Posted on 17 Aug 2017 by Michael Cruickshank

US President Donald Trump has announced that he will end his Manufacturing Council after a number of high-profile CEOs pulled out.

Trump campaigned extensively on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Trump campaigned extensively on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The defections came amidst a controversy revolving around remarks Trump made in the wake of the Charlottesville neo-Nazi violence that left a woman dead and dozens more injured.

Taking offense to the seemingly soft stand which Trump took towards these events, the CEOs of a number of companies including Merck, Intel, UnderArmour, 3M and Campbell’s Soup.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla had also previously quit the council following Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

“For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on,” Trump lamented yesterday on Twitter, before following this up several hours later with an announcement that the councils would be ended.

“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both,” the US President said.

Trump’s manufacturing agenda under pressure

The Manufacturing Council was created at the start of this year as part of Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.

The stated purpose of this initiative was to find ways to bring back jobs to the US through reshoring, and to decrease overall unemployment.

To achieve this it aimed to use a combination of tax breaks, decreased regulation, increased tariffs and other trade measures.

While it saw some early successes, with companies like Ford and Foxconn announcing the construction of large new factories in the US, as Trump’s leadership erodes, this agenda could be put under pressure.

Primarily, as Trump’s personal profile continues to decline, as well as his approval ratings, more and more politicians from his own party would be emboldened to take a stand against him.

This would make it increasingly difficult for him to pass the kinds of laws and bills which would be needed to pursue key parts of his so-called ‘America First’ manufacturing agenda.

Moreover, the events of last two days have shown that for many CEOs, working with Trump is now seen as politically toxic, meaning that public-private policy negotiation on this plan will also be significantly harder.