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‘Thank You, Samsung’

Feb 06,2017
Early Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump turned to his Twitter account to mention a familiar name: “Thank You Samsung!,” he wrote, “We would love to have you,” linking a media report that Samsung was considering opening a home appliance factory in the United States. But the Korean electronics giant hasn’t made the plan official. Trump’s tweet has bewildered Samsung and other Korean companies. The offensive agenda to materialize Trump’s campaign promise to increase hiring and industrial activity in the U.S. has reached Korean enterprises.

The so-called Trumponomics pledging redesigning of trade deals, spending and tax policies to bolster U.S. interests and growth have gained steam. It went down to specific details and does not end in making companies build factories on U.S. land for finished goods. Peter Navarro, heading the new National Trade Council, suggested the need for the United States to regain control over the supply chain.

“It does the American economy no long-term good to only keep the big-box factories where we are now assembling American products composed primarily of foreign components,” he said. “We need to manufacture those components in a robust domestic supply chain that will spur jobs and wage growth.” The Trump team is out to break down the long-held global outsourcing and supply chain by making sure everything is done in the U.S.

Past hawkish presidents usually eased their tones after the campaign and compromised with reality upon taking office. Governments and enterprises worldwide have withheld responses due to uncertainties over Trump’s unorthodox and ambitious campaign agenda. But Trump is proving to be good on his promises by attacking states of exploiting currencies and overthrowing trade deals in the first week in office. His agenda has now become certain.

The Korean business community must work closely with the government to devise an effective response. A company cannot alone fight the U.S. president. Japanese and German leaders personally responded to Trump’s accusation on currency policy. Korean companies should also try to customize investment plans to contribute to increasing jobs in the United States.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 4, Page 26