The president of the company that owns Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo is at odds with the current White House administration, and is threatening to pull their operation from the United States if Donald Trump imposes manufacturing rules that impact the bottom line.
Tadashi Yanai is the founder and president of Fast Retailing, a holding company that has claimed Uniqlo as a wholly-owned subsidiary since November 2005. Speaking with Japanese media, Yanai was asked about the company's plans should Trump's administration force their company to manufacture products in the United States.
Yanai was unequivocal in his response. "If I was directly told to do so, I will withdraw from the United States," he told The Asahi Shimbun. He claims what Trump is doing "is not beneficial for U.S. consumers. Anyone will think that it is an open-and-shut and impossible situation."
A shift in manufacturing practices has been a primary concern of Trump's White House. President Trump has repeatedly threatened businesses with "border taxes," including the likes of auto giants like General Motors:
Uniqlo does not appear to feel threatened by the potential policy hang-ups presented by the Trump administration, however, and Yanai insists it is consumers who will lose out in the event of a new manufacturing initiative. Yanai claims Uniqlo has aspirations to open 20 or 30 stores a year to add on to the 51 locations currently being operated in America, but says the company will not be forced into passing increased cost onto their customers.
"If (manufacturing products in the United States) is not a good decision for consumers," says Yanai, "it is meaningless to do business in the United States."