- Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
US President Donald Trump teased a new economic development bill “which nobody knows about,” in an interview with Forbes.
He didn’t give too many specifics about what such a bill would actually entail, but reiterated his larger theme of railing against companies who have operations abroad.
“I also have another bill … an economic-development bill, which I think will be fantastic. Which nobody knows about. Which you are hearing about for the first time,” he told Forbes’ Randall Lane.
“Economic-development incentives for companies. Incentives for companies to be here,” he said, adding that companies that send operations offshore “get penalized severely.”
“It’s both a carrot and a stick,” he continued. “It is an incentive to stay. But it is perhaps even more so – if you leave, it’s going to be very tough for you to think that you’re going to be able to sell your product back into our country.”
Responding to a question on whether Trump, who comes from the private sector, felt comfortable with his proposal that the government should punish or reward companies based on where they choose to locate their factories, rather than let the free market pick winners and losers, the president responded:
“Very comfortable. […] What I want to do is reciprocal. See, I think the concept of reciprocal is a very nice concept. If somebody is charging us 50%, we should charge them 50%. Right now they charge us 50%, and we charge them nothing. That doesn’t work with me.”
Based on what Trump told Forbes, it’s unclear what exact types of incentives he would create for companies to keep their business at home.
But the president has long railed against US companies that hire and produce their goods abroad, touching on the concerns of American workers who have lost their jobs in manufacturing. Early in his presidency, for example, he fixated on automakers that build plants in Mexico.