Terry Gou (???), chairman of Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (??), urged the United States not to adopt protectionist policies when the Republican Party's Donald Trump takes office in January, during an interview with China Central Television (CCTV).
In the interview, which aired on CCTV on Thursday, Gou said that all countries should embrace openness and competition rather than the false hope of protectionism.
Gou made the comments in response to growing fears that the U.S. could become more protectionist under President Trump, following comments made by the president-elect during the election campaign that he would adopt an American First policy and demand that U.S. high tech giants, such as Apple Inc, move production back home.
Trump accused export-oriented economies such as China, Taiwan and South Korea of stealing millions of jobs from American workers because many U.S. brands have outsourced production to those countries and he threatened to impose a 45 percent tariff on goods shipped from China.
Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn outside Taiwan, the largest contract electronics maker in the world, serves as an assembler of iPhones and iPads for Apple from its broad production base in China, where the Taiwanese manufacturing giant has a workforce of about one million.
When asked whether Hon Hai would be willing to roll out iPhones in the U.S. as Trump demanded, Gou said that even if those jobs returned to the U.S., it was extremely unlikely Americans would be willing to do them.
In addition, the supply chains of these U.S. brands are not in the U.S., so it is not likely to move the jobs back, Gou said.
He added that the business world needs time to evaluate Trump's economic policies because there is a big difference between running for the presidency and being president.
However, a report posted on the website of Japan's Nikkei Asian Review cited unnamed sources on Friday as saying that Apple has been studying the possibility of moving iPhone production to the U.S. The sources said that Apple asked both Hon Hai and Pegatron Corp. (??), another iPhone assembler, in June to look into making iPhones in the U.S. The sources say that Hon Hai agreed to conduct a feasibility study but Pegatron declined because of cost concerns.
Hon Hai is believed to be the sole assembler of Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus and share orders from Apple with Pegatron to assemble the 4.7-inch iPhone 7.
The sources quoted in the Nikkei Asian Review report said that moving the production of iPhones to the U.S. would double costs.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel