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Handelsblatt, Germany

Daimler Continues to Invest
Millions in the United States

By Astrid Dörner

Translated By Ron Argentati

10 December 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Germany - Handelsblatt - Original Article (German)

First Siemens and now Daimler: President Barack Obama praises German corporate investment in the United States. The Stuttgart auto and truck manufacturer wants to expand factory operations in Michigan.

On Wednesday, President Obama visited a Daimler diesel factory in Redford, Michigan, where he announced the parent company in Stuttgart would be investing an additional $120 million in the Michigan factory. The investment will create 115 new jobs for the members of the once-mighty United Auto Workers union. He said, “And companies like Daimler know you’re still a smart bet. They could have made their investment somewhere else, but they didn’t,” adding that there was a time when companies neglected to invest in the American worker.

It is the second time this year that the president visited a Daimler truck factory in the United States. In March the toured the Freightliner works in Mount Holly, North Carolina. Earlier, in January, he praised the Siemens Corporation's investments in America during his State of the Union speech. It is highly unusual to give so much attention to foreign corporations.

During times of high unemployment, jobs created by Germans are especially attractive and fit seamlessly with Obama's plans to revive America's industrial base with high-paying jobs for qualified workers. Lately, Obama has regularly surrounded himself with typical members of America's middle class. In the tough negotiations to achieve deficit reduction, he hopes to enlist the people on his side and put pressure on the Republicans.

But the president has another concern: Michigan is home to the “big three” auto manufacturers of GM, Ford and Chrysler. The United Auto Workers has had strong influence there for years and is thus partly responsible for the auto industry's deep crisis that came about when GM and Chrysler supported the government's managed bankruptcy plan. Another deep cut now faces the clearly weakened union.

The Republican-dominated Michigan state legislature could enact laws as early as Tuesday that would take even more rights away from the union. Obama, who had the support of the unions in 2008 and again this year, spoke out against the state's plans. “These so-called right-to-work laws, they don't have anything to do with economics, they have to do with politics," said Mr. Obama, who assailed the laws claiming they were about the "right to work for less money."



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