This week, Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbu asked Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai this week for his thoughts on President Donald Trump's vision for America's manufacturing future. Trump's promises to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States have included a 35% tariff on companies that leave the United States.
When asked what he would do if ordered by Trump to begin manufacturing Uniqlo product in the United States, Yanai was unambiguous in his response: "If I was directly told to do so, I will withdraw from the United States," he said.
"We would not be able to make really good products [in the U.S.] at costs that are beneficial to customers," Yanai claimed. "It would become meaningless to do business in the U.S."
Uniqlo has 51 locations in the United States, CNN has reported, and is considering opening at least 20 stores across the country this year, depending on the Trump administration's signals.
Trump stressed the importance of companies keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States throughout the presidential campaign, however, his own Trump brand relies heavily on workers in overseas factories. As president, he promised that all new oil pipelines would be built with American steel and resources. But, the newly-approved Keystone XL will be constructed with foreign-bought materials.