Last year, Wal-Mart committed to spending hundreds of billions of dollars more on goods manufactured in the U.S.
In one of the first steps toward that goal, the company is now building a bicycle manufacturing plant in South Carolina, reports Lydia Depillis at The Washington Post.
Kent Bicycles originally opened in New Jersey in the 1970s, but had to outsource manufacturing to China 20 years later, according to the newspaper.
“By that time, the whole mystique of ‘made in the USA’ was disappearing, and nobody would pay a premium of 2% for a U.S. product compared to an import,” Arnold Kamler, the company’s CEO, told WashPo. “We always hoped that we could start back up again.”
Kent imports 2.8 million bikes a year. Wal-Mart, which sells half the bikes in the U.S., is its biggest customer.
Still, the new face of American manufacturing is completely different from the one decades ago, notes Depillis.
Clarendon County, the site of the new factory, had to lobby hard to be selected. Eventually, the county offered tax subsidies that sealed the deal.
Union organising is also out of the picture.
Kent told WashPo that it would pay its 175 employees “substantially more” than South Carolina’s $US7.25 minimum wage.
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