Supply Chain Council of European Union |

Austin’s ‘new’ Apple factory came from free and fair trade, not political nonsense

We’ve heard the worn cliché that everything old is new again, but this is taking it a little far.

President Donald Trump’s decision to take credit for the opening of an Apple computer manufacturing plant in Austin Wednesday had us saying “Come again?”

See, Trump took office in 2017. The Apple factory has been humming along since 2013.

You don’t have to be a software engineer to see the math doesn’t add up.

A hydrogen fuel cell semi truck parked at Toyota Motors North America in Plano on Aug. 21, 2018.

Yes, the factory is now producing Apple’s new Mac Pro, something that appeared unlikely given an ongoing trade dispute with China that had seen tariffs placed on key components.

The Trump administration relented on Apple’s request that certain parts be granted tariff waivers. Absent that, Wednesday’s tour wouldn’t have happened because the Mac Pro wouldn’t be manufactured in Austin.

So in stepping back from his own policies, the president gets a certain amount of credit for the fact that the assembly line is rolling.

But he certainly doesn’t get credit for what he tweeted: “Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America. Today Nancy Pelosi closed Congress because she doesn’t care about American Workers!”

PayPal recently announced it will cut ties with the Pornhub website. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

We know by now that the president is given to hyperbole, let’s call it. But we also know that things as important as domestic economic development and trade policy need honest and plain discussion, not false claims.

It was strange to see Apple chief executive Tim Cook stand by silently as the president suggested the factory was new in a news conference.

Cook understands the complex realities of manufacturing in a global economy and the reasons Apple is in Austin in the first place. It is because America has led the world in ingenuity, creativity and the embrace of free and fair markets. And we dare say, there are reasons that the factory is in Texas, a state that has gone out of its way to be a job creator.

Those are the things we should be celebrating and taking credit for — not old factories that are suddenly new again.

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