President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday warned that the government would punish companies seeking to move operations overseas with “consequences,” setting the stage for an unusual level of intervention by the White House into private enterprise.
Trump’s remarks came as he triumphantly celebrated a decision by the heating and air-conditioning company Carrier to reverse its plans to close a furnace plant here and move to Mexico, helping keep 1,100 jobs in Indianapolis. About 800 of those were manufacturing positions that had been scheduled to move south of the border, said a person familiar with the negotiations.
An additional 300 to 600 Carrier positions at that plant, as well as roughly 700 jobs at another facility in the area, will still be cut.
Under the terms of the agreement, which have not been finalized, Carrier would receive a $7 million tax incentive package from the state of Indiana in exchange for making a $16 million investment in the facility — although Trump said Thursday that amount would probably be higher.
In remarks delivered inside the Carrier facility, the president-elect said more companies will decide to stay in the United States because his administration will lower corporate taxes and reduce regulations. He also warned that businesses that decide to go abroad will pay a price through a border tax on imported goods.
“Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences,” Trump declared Thursday. “Not gonna happen. It’s not gonna happen.”
Trump said he decided to intervene after watching a television news report that reminded him that he had vowed during the campaign, “We’re not going to let Carrier leave.”
Trump’s determination to use a mixture of incentives and tariffs to keep jobs from going overseas represents a sharp break with the free-market wing of the Republican Party, including senior congressional leaders. On Thursday, top Republicans offered careful responses to the Carrier deal.