Donald Trump visited Austin this week. His goal: to tout the successes of his trade policy by taking credit for opening a new Apple plant in Texas.
There is only one problem: The factory Trump “opened” has been in business for six years. Not only that, but the factory was at risk of shutdown over the trade war with China and high tariffs on materials used to create Apple products.
“Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America. Today Nancy Pelosi closed Congress because she doesn’t care about American Workers!” Trump said in a Wednesday afternoon tweet.
The Apple Factory that Nearly Shut Down
An escalating trade war between the United States and China has resulted in tariffs on products and materials moving between the two countries of up to 25%.
These tariffs resulted in Apple’s decision to examine closing the Austin factory, which has been largely used to create Apple’s Mac Pro product line.
The Mac Pro is the only major Apple device manufactured in the United States. The iPhone, iPad, iMac, and laptops are all made overseas.
It wasn’t until the Trump Administration agreed to exempt Apple from its high tariffs that Apple decided to keep the facility open and utilize it to build the next generation of Mac Pros, which start at $6,000 USD.
The factory currently employs nearly 500 workers in the Austin area.
Apple’s Strong Presence in Austin
Apple has been one of Austin’s largest employers for well over a decade. To date, Apple employs over 7,000 Austinites with an additional 5,000 – 15,000 expected to be added when its new campus expected to open in 2022.
The Austin area is also home to other tech giants, including Dell, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Home Depot, and Amazon.
Austin’s proximity to one of the nation’s largest universities (University of Texas) and thriving technology sector has earned it the nickname “Silicon Hills.”
President Trump’s boasting about opening a factory that has been in operation for six years that faced near closure over a trade war he started is short-sighted.
It ignores the fact that, while he did exempt Apple from tariffs in an effort to prevent the closure of the factory, it was his policy that triggered the possible closure in the first place.
It’s rare indeed that we will see a firefighter boast about putting out a fire he or she started in the first place. But for this President of the United States, it’s a perfectly normal practice.