Sunday, February 24, 2013

How Stupid Do You Think We Are?

It was a very cold, snowy day today. There was no accumulation but  we watched  big, fluffy snowflakes fall all day.  In contrast to this peaceful scene, one of the big news items here this past week was all about the cutting missives between Mr. Taylor, American CEO of Titan Tires and Arnaud Montebourg, the French Minister of Industrial  Renewal. The following letter is from Taylor to Montebourg....
February 8, 2013
Dear Mr. Montebourg:
I have just returned to the United States from Australia where I have been for the past few weeks on business; therefore, my apologies for answering your letter dated 31 January 2013.
I appreciate your thinking that your Ministry is protecting industrial activities and jobs in France.  I and Titan have a 40-year history of buying closed factories and companies, losing millions of dollars and turning them around to create a good business, paying good wages. Goodyear tried for over four years to save part of the Amiens jobs that are some of the highest paid, but the French unions and French government did nothing but talk.
I have visited the factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three, and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that’s the French way!
You are a politician so you don't want to rock the boat. The Chinese are shipping tires into France - really all over Europe - and yet you do nothing. In five years, Michelin won’t be able to produce tires in France. France will lose its industrial business because government is more government.
Sir, your letter states you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with money and talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government. The French farmer wants cheap tire. He does not care if the tires are from China or India and governments are subsidizing them. Your government doesn’t care either. “We’re French!”
The US government is not much better than the French. Titan had to pay millions to Washington lawyers to sue the Chinese tire companies because of their subsidizing. Titan won. The government collects the duties. We don’t get the duties, the government does.
Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour and ship all the tires France needs. You can keep the so-called workers. Titan has no interest in the Amiens North factory.
Best regards,
Maurice M. Taylor, Jr.
Chairman and CEO

And this is the response from Montebourg to Taylor: ________________________________________________________________
LE MINISTRE    -                          Paris, le 20 fevrier, 2013                                                                         
Your extremely insulting words show perfect ignorance of our country and its solid advantages, such as its world-renowned attractiveness and its relationship with the United States of America.

France is proud to host more than 20,000 foreign companies on its soil, representing nearly two million jobs, a third of industrial exports, 20 per cent of research and development and 25 per cent of private industrial employment. Each year, there are 700 decisions of locating foreign investment and job creators of value in France. And this strong attractiveness does not get weaker, on the contrary, from year to year it is getting stronger.

Within these foreign investments, the United States occupies the first place. 4200 subsidiaries of U.S. companies employ nearly 500,000 people. The presence of U.S. companies in France is very old: Haviland since 1842, IBM since 1914, Coca-Cola since 1933, General Electric since 1974. And many others. These links are from year to year renewed: in 2012, companies like Massey Ferguson, Mars Chocolate, or 3M chose to increase their presence in France.

What are the decisive factors in the choice of location? Foreign companies in France are seeking quality infrastructure, quality of life, an energy among the most competitive in Europe, and a very favorable environment for research and innovation. But most importantly, in contrast to your ridiculous and derogatory comments, all these companies know and appreciate the quality and productivity of the French workforce and the commitment, know-how, talent and skills of French workers

To amplify the attractiveness, the French government has recently taken 35 measures in the National Pact for growth, competitiveness and employment. Among them, the tax credit for competitiveness and employment allege costs of 6% wage firms between 1 and 2.5 SMIC. In addition, the social partners have reached an agreement on the employment security, which illustrates the quality of social dialogue in France and the importance that the government, to which I belong, attaches to it.

Can I remind you that Titan, the company you head, is 20 times smaller than Michelin, the French technology leader with a global reach, and 35 times more profitable? That shows the extent that Titan could have learnt and gained enormously from a French base.
France is especially proud and happy to welcome American investment between our two countries that are linked by an old and passionate friendship. Do you at least know what Lafayette did for the United States of America? For our part, we French will never forget the sacrifice of young American soldiers on the beaches of Normandy to deliver us from Nazism in 1944. And since you choose to criticize your own country in the letter that you send me, I must tell you how the French government admires the policy implemented by President Obama. As Minister for Industry, I am particularly sensitive to actions in favor of the relocation of manufacturing jobs in the United States and radical innovation. It is our policy that even some present with the parent inspired by your President.

You mention your intention to exploit the labor of some countries to flood our markets. I must tell you that this condemnable calculation and short-sighted and will sooner or later face a justified reaction (just as in the US). This is already the case in France with increasingly numerous allies in the Union European arguing for reciprocity of exchanges and organize against [exploitation of cheap labor]. In the meantime, rest assured that you can count on me to have the competent government agencies survey your imported tires with a redoubled zeal. They will ensure compliance with all standards particularly applicable to materials, environmental and technical.

I beg you to accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest regards.

                                                                  Arnaud MONTEBOURG

Talk amongst yourselves, compare and contrast, argue and debate. My only comment: Lafayette, really? I'm cool with Lafayette but didn't the Minister go a little off topic in that second to the last paragraph? Stay on point, Arnaud.

1 comment:

Sparkling Like A Diamond said...

Just Nasty all the way around!