Sunday, February 27, 2011

3M: “Politicians forget that business has choice"

Financial Times reports that the CEO and Chairman of 3M Corporation has strong opinions on Pres. Obama's economic policies:
The head of one of the US’s biggest industrial groups has launched a scathing attack on Barack Obama’s attempts to repair relations with companies, dubbing him “anti-business”.

Manufacturers could shift production out of the US to Canada or Mexico as a result, warned George Buckley, chief executive and chairman of 3M. . . . .

Mr Buckley, who has run the diversified manufacturer since 2005, said: “There is a sense among companies that this is a difficult place to do business. It is about regulation, taxation, seemingly anti-business policies in Washington, attitudes towards science.”

He added: “Politicians forget that business has choice. We’re not indentured servants and we will do business where it’s good and friendly. If it’s hostile, incrementally, things will slip away. We’ve got a real choice between manufacturing in Canada and Mexico – which tend to be pro-business – or America.” [Emph. added]

Interestingly, he also brought up immigration policy. The Democrats advocate citizenship for those who cross the border illegally while, at the same time, systematically excluding from the US the college graduates who apply for residency legally. As a result, he says, 3M is forced to move high-tech jobs overseas:

The 3M chief also criticised US immigration policy, saying the difficulty of obtaining visas was forcing companies to move research and development overseas. “About 68 per cent of our science PhD candidates are from outside the US,” he said. “Many want to stay here afterwards but we’re not allowed as many visas as we would like.”

“We are now exporting science overseas to China, India, Germany, building labs there. There’s a good strategic reason for it, but we also have no choice – if we can’t get the people here and we’re competing with the people there, we have no choice but to do it locally.” [Emph. added]

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