Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle today termed President Donald J. Trump's ideas on foreign trade "insane."
Trump's erratic trade policy towards China is making life difficult for the many U.S. companies that manufacture goods there or are seeking to expand their sales to Chinese customers.
The Trump administration has placed tariffs on Chinese-made goods, which range from the simplest toys to textiles to complex manufactured products such as cellphones and industrial machinery.
Economists generally agree those tariffs hurt consumers in this country because they, rather than Chinese manufacturers, bear the brunt of the tariffs. In recent weeks, Trump has threatened to increase tariffs, although he's vacillated, causing stock market gyrations and consternation among American companies with international supply chains. Last week, he took the extraordinary step of "ordering" U.S. companies to stop doing business in China.
Today the New York Times focused on the impacts of the president's China policy on four companies, highlighting Columbia Sportswear, which depends on Chinese textile manufacturers and also hopes to expand sales in China.
Businesses, such as Columbia and the others featured in the Times article, want certainty in the rules and laws where they do business because they make long-term investments in plants and people and they want to have some confidence the landscape won't suddenly shift underneath them.
"When we make a wager on investment, this is not Vegas," Boyle told the Times. We have to have a reasonable expectation we can get a return. That's predicated on the rule of law: Where can we expect the laws will be enforced, and for the foreseeable future, the rules will be in place? That's what America used to be."
Previously, Boyle has been critical of Trump's immigration policies.