SC is Ground Zero in trade war, and McMaster tells us to ‘be patient’

October 29, 2018
Press Contact: Brad Warthen, 803-315-1886

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The headline in The New York Times is ominous enough: “Trump’s Trade War May Create New Auto Jobs. In China.”

It’s worse when you read the story and find that when it comes to collateral damage in this war, South Carolina is Ground Zero.

Months ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned that South Carolina would be among the states most harmed by job-killing tariffs. Journalists across the country have learned that if they want to write about the problem, they should come right here. From the NYT story:

BMW, the largest exporter of cars from the United States, has already moved some production of its popular X3 sport utility vehicle — once made exclusively in Spartanburg, S.C. — to a factory in Shenyang, China. Analysts expect the German automaker to also move some production of its larger X5….

Business leaders in South Carolina and other areas that depend on foreign carmakers are registering alarm….

“It’s a tremendous concern,” said H. David Britt, a member of the Spartanburg County Council…

“It’s not just BMW,” Mr. Britt said by telephone from Spartanburg. “It’s every one of the suppliers that produce for BMW.”

The effects of the trade war are already being felt in South Carolina.

BMW’s production in Spartanburg slumped 6 percent in September compared with a year earlier. The company, which has had operations in Spartanburg since 1994 and employs 10,000 there, cited trade tensions in issuing a profit warning last month….

The bad news goes on and on. The story also talks about how the new Volvo plant in the Lowcountry may not hire as many people as planned. Again, because of the tariffs.

And what does Henry McMaster do? He tells South Carolinians to “be patient,” and give his buddy Donald Trump’s tariffs a chance to work.

“If McMaster cared less about posturing for his base and more about South Carolinians, he’d be pounding on the White House door, demanding that the president drop his reckless protectionism,” said James Smith, the Democratic nominee for governor. “That’s what I’ll do when I’m your governor.”

Said his running mate, Mandy Powers Norrell: “Some of the best jobs in South Carolina are being thrown away for no good reason, and Henry McMaster’s silence is deafening.”