President Trump’s Rhetoric Triggers Supply Chain Discussion in US
MANNING, US – President Trump’s rhetoric is reason for worries that go beyond the aftermath of recent happenings in Charlottesville. His ‘Making America Great Again’ by slapping high import tariffs on imports from Asia is causing concerns at companies that are behind the re-emerging bicycle industry in America and is triggering a supply chain discussion.
President Trump’s promise to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US is threatened by his repeatedly announced strategy to impose high tariffs on imports from China, other Asian countries as well as Mexico. Bloomberg reports today what this matters to the currently only volume bike maker of the US; Kent International Inc. that operates under its Bicycle Corporation of America brand.
Re-emerging bicycle production in US
In 2014 Kent International started production of bicycles in Manning, South Carolina. Twenty years after the last US produced bikes rolled off the Huffy assembly lines Kent was the first bike maker in the US that re-shores production from Asia.
Santa Cruz is another example of a US producer. Under the ownership of Pon Bike Group it produces ultra-high-end mountain bikes. And this company is extending its reach to Europe by making use of the synergy possibilities Pon Bike Group offers.
Bringing manufacturing jobs back
These companies are fulfilling President Trump’s top campaign promise to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. Like at Kent International Inc. that offers some 130 jobs for the production of 350,000 bikes this year. And it will not stay at that as owner Arnold Kamler has the ambition to eventually assemble 1 million bikes annually.
However, industry veteran Arnold Kamler states that if the president follows through with an across-the-board tariff on all imports it will undermine his business. And in such a way that it will be making it prohibitively expensive to supply the South Carolina factory from parts being produced and imported from Asia.
As there are no volume parts producers in the US Kamler is now viewing at what is happening in Europe on supply chain issues and re-shoring parts production from Asia. And points to the blossoming bicycle parts manufacturing center in Portugal where for instance Triangle’s Cycling Equipments SA started the world’s first fully automated aluminum bicycle frame facility. He regards this as an example of a healthy supply chain. In the Bloomberg report Arnold Kamler states further “Within three years, automation could make it just as affordable to manufacture parts in the US as in China.”