MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — A day after telling China’s next leader his country must play by global economic rules, President Barack Obama Wednesday celebrated the return of US jobs from the vast Asian economy.
Obama, seeking to boost manufacturing in key swing states hit by high unemployment as he cranks up his reelection campaign, touted plans to offer tax breaks to companies which bring jobs home from low-wage economies abroad.
He appeared at a plant making padlocks for Master Lock in the midwestern state of Wisconsin, which has recently returned around 100 jobs that were once offshore back to the United States.
“Over the last few years, it’s become more expensive to do business in countries like China,” Obama said.
“Meanwhile, American workers — we have become even more productive.”
“For the first time in 15 years, this plant is running at full capacity…. Today, you’re selling products directly to customers in China stamped with those words: “Made In America.”
Obama unveiled a package of proposals in his State of the Union address last month to boost American manufacturing and create jobs.
The president wants to cancel tax breaks for firms that outsource jobs, require multinational companies to pay a basic tax, and lower taxes for firms that hire workers in the United States.
He also seeks to double tax deductions for US-made products and to provide financing for new plants, equipment or training for workers in firms that set up shop in areas hit hard by economic turmoil.
“You’ve all heard enough about outsourcing. More and more companies like Master Lock are now insourcing,” Obama said, arguing rising costs in China meant that US-based firms were increasingly competitive.
The president warned however that due to globalization and changes in the labor market, partly brought about by emerging developing economies, not all American jobs would come home.
“In a global economy, some companies are always going to find it more profitable to pick up and do business in some other part of the world. That’s just a fact,” Obama said.
Obama met China’s likely next leader Xi Jinping in the Oval Office on Tuesday and his warm and courteous reception did not mask sharp differences between Washington and Beijing on economic and geopolitical issues.
“We want to work with China to make sure that everybody is working by the same rules of the road when it comes to the world economic system,” Obama said, as Xi sat by his side ahead of their Oval Office talks.
“That includes insuring that there is a balanced trading flow not only between the United States and China but around the world,” Obama said.