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But Mr. Maurer struggles to see how this would create any jobs in the United States. The American textile industry is small and increasingly dominated by robots. The rest of the world holds billions of hands willing work cheaply.In the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, Jiang Jiacheng exudes confidence that China will continue to serve as the factory floor for the world — with tariffs or otherwise.
In short, Mr. Trump’s signature trade promise, one ostensibly aimed at protecting American jobs, may well deliver the reverse: It risks making successful American manufacturers more vulnerable by raising their costs. It would unleash havoc on the supply chain, prompting some multinationals to leave the United States and shift manufacturing to countries where they can be assured of buying components at the lowest prices.