Day of executive actions expected; is it really possible Apple would shift production?
Morning Brief: Trade deals, the EPA, appear to be prone to attack from the new administration, as all the policies proposals that many Trump supporters dismissed as mere posturing appear to be about to become official government policy
The first Monday of the new Trump administration is expected to feature a series of executive actions to be announced including a withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and an intention to renegotiation NAFTA.
But it may be the executive action gutting the Environmental Protection Agency that will have the gravest impact on the US (and the world), with reports from Axios that the EPA “is set for an absolute hammering under Trump” – with the Clean Air Act to be targeted in order to encourage the use of dirty energy.
This weekend, however, was all about the new president having a hissy fit over reports that his audience of the inauguration was small compared to that of Barack Obama, and that the Women’s March vastly outdrew his own event. In his first press briefing, Sean Spicer volunteered to destroy his credibility with the press by insisting that the inaugural “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.” Spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway later went on Meet the Press to proclaim that Spicer was presenting “alternative facts” and that the new administration’s “facts” were just as valid as, you know, the facts.
Later today the second press briefing will be held by Spicer, and unless things change, it may be the last attended by many of the White House press corps.
We have been leaked a list of the top executive order priorities for the Trump administration. The Trump folks wanted to get these done immediately, but our Jonathan Swan is told the process is proving to be a little slower than some might have whimsically thought. Trump’s team is working to clear the actions through legal counsel to get language right.
One of our best-wired GOP sources says Trump’s early executive orders speak volumes about what to expect from his presidency. “What Peggy Noonan wrote about the inaugural speech was exactly right,” our source says. “There will be not a shred of difference between campaign rhetoric and how he plans on governing.”
They’re principally focused on the countries that have large trade deficits with them … I don’t think Canada’s the focus at all,” he said, but noted NAFTA is clearly up for discussion. “That’s what we’ve got to worry about is that we’re collateral damage. And so part of this is just making sure that they understand how important Canada is to their economy.”
This weekend was defined by Mr. Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and a pledge to put “America first,” followed by protests around the world.
About two million women across the globe, including tens of thousands in Canada, participated in women’s rights marches on Saturday to protest against Mr. Trump’s presidency. On Sunday, Mr. Trudeau tweeted a note of support to marchers in this country.
“Congratulations to the women and men across Canada who came out [Saturday] to support women’s rights,” Mr. Trudeau wrote.
“You keep your government inspired.”
Spicer’s statement required dismissing all available evidence: ridership count, eyewitness testimony, independent crowd-counts, and Nielsen television ratings. Spicer cut his teeth at the Republican National Committee as the combative voice of a body often at odds with the media, but even by those standards, his furious insistence on assertions at odds with the evidence were peculiar.
They are, however, emerging as a hallmark of the administration. For days ahead of the inauguration, Trump aides insisted that the president-elect was writing his own inaugural address, without the aid of speechwriters. They went so far as to stage a photograph that purported to show him writing the speech—though the image showed Trump wielding a Sharpie, and some internet sleuths speculated that the desk he was using is typically used a reception desk at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
On Friday, however, The Wall Street Journal reported, “Much of the speech was written by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, two of Mr. Trump’s top advisers, a White House official said.” Why mislead the public about who wrote the speech? After all, the news that Miller would be assisting in writing the address had emerged days ago, and there’s certainly no shame in a president employing speechwriters, nor has the practice dimmed positive reception for past presidential addresses.
There are reports that Foxconn is considering a major investment in the US, which would result in the shifting of some Apple manufacturing to the US. This makes sense for several reasons: Foxconn in a Taiwan company, and looming trade war with China may be on the horizon, and then there is the pressure being applied by Trump on the tech companies to bring manufacturing back home.
But, this would also have a devastating effect on sales in China, stunting any growth by Apple or other techs, which have been depending on China for growth this past decade. Several financial news outlets have wondered by the markets have been so calm when there are serious concerns that the economy, which has rebounded in the past eight years, could take a nosedive due to government interference.
Nonetheless, diversifying where their products are produced, sounds to me to be like a good policy, especially with uncertain times ahead.
Foxconn Technology Group is considering building a U.S. display-making facility for upwards of $7 billion, a major investment for Apple Inc.’s main manufacturer that may create tens of thousands of American jobs during President Donald Trump’s first year in office.
The company is considering a joint investment with Sharp Corp., the Japanese display supplier it bought last year, but details have yet to be hammered out, Reuters cited Chairman Terry Gou as telling reporters in Taipei on the sidelines of a company event. Foxconn confirmed the report Monday.
An investment by Foxconn, whose main listed unit is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., would mark a victory for Trump, who’s repeatedly blasted China for stealing American jobs and devastating U.S. manufacturing. But Foxconn is one of the single largest private employers in China and the government there has conveyed its concern over the possibility that it will shift investment away from the country.
Apple has reportedly selected Wistron to be the first OEM in India for new iPhones to be launched in 2017, while Foxconn Electronics and other makers will become second OEMs if demand increases. In preparation for OEM production, Wistron has expanded smartphone production capacity in Kunshan, eastern China, and in India.
This year could be a big one for media M&A – not only in the US, where everyone has their eyes on Time Inc. and tronc, but also in the UK, where several publishers may be looking to call it quits.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise: mergers, as well as closings, come in spurts. Publishers see troubled times and try to ride them out. The wise sellers anticipate bad times and sell when their valuations are high; wise buyers wait for the valuations to tumble.
In the real world, however, many publishers wait too long before selling, and many buyers rush in when things are good and valuations high due to a fear of missing out.
After the closure of the Independent, the failed launch of Trinity Mirror’s New Day newspaper and plummeting revenues across the industry, 2016 will likely be remembered as a messy year for the print media.
Less than a month in, and with rows brewing over press regulation, part two of the Leveson Inquiry and fake news on social media, 2017 is shaping up to be no less dramatic…
…“I think [the level of M&A in the industry] is definitely a reflection of what’s going on structurally in the marketplace,” Future chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne tells City A.M.
“And I think that when you have a period of structural decline, what happens is there is naturally a re-consolidation.”
She adds: “I think there will be more deals this year.”