Donald Trump jumped into the Apple-China manufacturing debate Tuesday, calling for Apple CEO Tim Cook to make Apple products in the U.S.
After a New York Times article described abject working conditions at China-based Foxconn, Apple is facing increased criticism. Foxconn is Apple's go-to contract manufacturer for iPads and iPhones.
Speaking on Fox News, Trump said Cook should decree that its stuff be made in the U.S.
"Wouldn't it be a great thing if the new leader of Apple said we're going to start building plants in the United States," he said.
Trump continued. "Maybe the incentive's not there...but when 100 percent of Apple's products--or virtually 100 percent--are made outside of this country, it's pretty sad," he said.
One of the hurdles of making a product like the iPhone or iPad in the U.S. is that device manufacturing is extremely human-intensive and workers are not well paid. Contrast that with Intel, for example, whose U.S.-based plants are highly automated and employ workers that are relatively well compensated.
Trump thinks Apple should try anyway. "We can do great things in this country...wouldn't it be great if Apple actually made these products in the United States."
Ironically, Trump and President Obama are more or less on the same page. Obama has been pushing hard for in-sourcing--moving manufacturing and other operations back to the U.S., particularly from places like China.
"We have a huge opportunity to create more high-tech manufacturing jobs in the United States and bring back some of these jobs from overseas, but we're going to have to seize the moment," Obama said last week when visiting Intel's newest chip plant in Chandler, Ariz.
"Let's stop rewarding business that ship jobs overseas, let's reward companies that are investing and creating jobs right here in the United States of America," the President said.
Note: Trump's Apple-related comments start at the 4:15 mark.
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