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Could our impending trade war with China hose the orders for those new Orange Line and Red Line cars?

As we all know, the state has a contract with a Chinese company to build hundreds of millions of dollars wroth of new cars for the Orange and Red Line. And while the cars will be assembled in good old Springfield, MA, the components will be mostly manufactured in the People's Republic (and no, not Cambridge). CRRC, the company in question, has concerns, you betcha:

Rail-related products on the list include rails, electrical signaling, safety and traffic control equipment, and, significantly for CRRC MA which has a $95 million train manufacturing facility in Springfield, Massachusetts, self-propelled coaches and rolling stock parts.

The Springfield plant is set to begin full-scale production of all those new subway cars on April 16.

H/t E.E.

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I'm honestly conflicted.

On the one hand, yeah tariffs against Chinese industrial goods do indeed shoot us in the foot now, as this illustrates.

On the other hand, letting our industrial base erode away to China over the past several decades with a blind devotion to free trade was not at all a smart move, but the flow of cheap stuff into Walmart was something that average people could see and benefit from directly. Unfortunately this was a mask, it took the ouch out of a very poor strategic decision.

If the new policy of the US government with respect to international trade is to stop taking the ouch out of policies that offer instant gratification at the cost of jobs and material prosperity down the line...well maybe that's not a bad thing, even if it hurts now.

The wide-eyed optimist in me might even hope that CRRC might be swayed to source more of their materials within the US to keep the contract, but the realist in me understands that won't happen here, but it might happen with their next order, or with the next bit of foreign investment that happens in the US. That's how the "Japanese" and "German" car industries in Kentucky and South Carolina operate, and that's not a bad thing.

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I wouldn't disagree that China has had a detrimental effect on U.S. manufacturing, partly enabled by retailers like Walmart who sold out American workers, in order to make a few more pennies on their bottom line.

However, the balance of trade and how it affects the economy and jobs is a complicated issue, something the president surely isn't capable of understanding. Ill-informed and ill-advised, protectionist tariffs cause much more harm than good. For example, tariffs on solar panels are killing jobs for people who install them, and tariffs on steel and aluminum are killing jobs in industries which depend on such metals for manufacturing.

If you're going to impose tariffs on crucial materials, it's essential to make sure capacity exists within the U.S. to supply them. In other words, you'd need to get U.S. steel mills up and running to meet demand. Otherwise, impulsively imposing broad tariffs is shooting yourself in the foot.

Such would be the case if tariffs affected the order for our new Red and Orange Line cars. I wish there were American companies manufacturing subway cars, but there aren't.

Every single thing this president does is like dropping another bomb on our nation. He's destroying our government from the inside out and attacking the soul of the American people. Every cabinet member seems determined to destroy the agencies they represent.

The party currently in control of the senate and house turn a blind eye to it all. Money is all that matters to the scoundrels, whose false-patriotism fools far too many Americans into thinking they care about our nation.

The president is playing with something he doesn't know how to operate, and without advice from knowledgeable experts. There's nothing that can possible go wrong.

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But in the end, wouldn't the easy solution be for CRRC to stiff the Commonwealth (and hopefully not the T) with the increased costs. Surely they have a clause in the contract that would allow them to do just that.

In the long run, you are right about the sourcing. If CRRC is serious about being a player in the global railcar manufacturing field, they will move more of the work to the nations that have the demand for the vehicles. I've seen people at this website call Siemens an American company due to the level of work done here. Hitachi does manufacturing in England after getting a few plumb contracts. This is what leading companies do.

It does amaze me how somehow the left has gotten comfortable with the erosion of manufacturing in the US. I think back to how Michael Moore made his name decrying how automobile manufacturing was moving to Mexico, but now, who cares? There's a ton of stuff that Trump has put forth that I disagree with, but wanting to help manufacturing at home is one thing I support. China is not playing fair with the world and they need to be called out on it.

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It certainly dismays me, but I understand it.

A whole generation of people has grown up from cradles made in China to toys made in China to phones and furniture and kitchenware made in China that they just expect things to be made elsewhere. And a good chunk of the generation that raised them grew up believing that factory work was something that their parents and grandparents did, that it was undignified and to be escaped to the greener pastures of white collar work.

Of the people who drafted NAFTA a generation ago, and who were working on TPP a few years back, how many worked their way up from the factory floor, versus how many of them had never seen a machine shop with their own eyes? Making things is a foreign country to people who (quite vocally) pride themselves on living a life of the mind. So who cares if it really is done in a foreign country?

This mindset is the prerequisite for making laws and regulations that shunt manufacturing over there. Be they trade regulations, environmental rules, strict labor laws, in some dimension the argument against them consists of the claim that manufacturing here will suffer at the expense of manufacturing there, where the pay is lower, where the environment doesn't matter, where near-slavery is the norm.

None of those carry as much weight with the political class which in large part is composed of people for whom manufacturing is an abstraction rather than a vital force. It's sad, it isn't right, but it is completely understandable.

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agriculture. Those Red State conservative, now Trump supporting farmers were ambivalent at best when it came to the manufacturing jobs of their fellow Americans in the rust belt. Big flag waivers. For themselves. They've won big for 20 years. Now they are crying about the loss caused by a trade war. These are the same flag waivers that rely on undocumented immigrants as a labor force to avoid paying American citizens a living wage.

Tech companies are just as hypocritical. Giving away their intellectual property to China to avoid having to pay American workers a living wage to manufacture their products. There isn't a single product manufactured in China that isn't produced as a knock off in short order. These same cretans want to flood the country with visa holders from India to take high paying tech jobs from American workers. They lie boldly in claiming there aren't enough Americans to fill the jobs in demand. True, there are not enough Americans who can have their income cut in half or by two thirds to accommodate the massive CEO pay one earns for screwing American workers.

You get what you vote for.

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My office is having a really hard time finding domestic junior staff. We pay really well, lots of perks, do career training, work is interesting, and there are opportunities for junior people to take on leadership roles and to advance quickly (if they put in the effort). We've got some things working against us - high cost of housing in boston (our junior staff used to live in cambridge and somerville - now some of them are commuting in from quincy and beyond) - and a dearth of graduates with pertinent degrees. We had been able to fill the gap with international hires (and we typically hire the best of the best) - but now we're having a tough time convincing people to move here internationally - and we've had to lower the quality threshold of the kinds of candidates we hire domestically - and it's still not enough.

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Everything that Trust Fund Trump touches turns to shit. He is the only person in the world that has more failed businesses and marriages than he can count.

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Was that also Trump's fault? If Hillary had won, would it have been a seasonal sunshiny day today instead?

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Clinton's appointees wouldn't be denying climate change real and is a result of human activities.

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You are so mad and I absolutely love it. U mad bro?

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Comments like these always make me lose a little faith in humanity. Are that many people's lives that pitifully empty that seeing someone else upset on the internet makes them happy?

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AFAIK, only the carbody shells are being manufactured in China. Everything else is being manufactured in the US or another country. There is a 60% US content requirement in the contract and CRRC has exceeded that. Examples include the propulsion system from Mitsubishi, trucks from Bradken, and couplers from Wabtec.

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TDS destroys rational thought.
Unfortunately for its victims.
Apparently, Adam is one.

There's (I'm 99.99% sure) a SIGNED CONTRACT between MBTA and CRRC.
And, I'm 99% sure that it says, "You deliver cars, THEN we pay you".
Nothing else makes sense.

Yes, the future is uncertain.
No matter who the President is.

This article is pure speculation, with a heavily partisan slant.

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