Donald Trump has China-owned Volvo to thank for new car plant in South Carolina

After all of President Donald Trump’s bluster about building more cars in the U.S., the one new plant he can count on will come from a once American-owned Swedish brand flourishing under a Chinese parent. Volvo Car Group opens its $500 million factory late next year and will employ 2,000 workers initially near Charleston, S.C. Trump’s unlikely ally has been on a tear since billionaire Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. bought the company from Ford Motor Co. in 2010 for just $1.5 billion. “We are in a little bit of a strange situation, but that is the result of globalization,” said Lex Kerssemakers, chief executive officer for Volvo North America. “This is how the world is interacting with one another, and it’s unavoidable.” Charlotte Observer

The long, rough ride ahead for ‘Made in America’

Mini motorcycle and go-kart maker Monster Moto made a big bet on U.S. manufacturing by moving assembly to this Louisiana town in 2016 from China. But it will be a long ride before it can stamp its products “Made in USA.” The loss of nearly one out four U.S. factories in the last two decades means parts for its bike frames and engines must be purchased in China, where the manufacturing supply chain moved years ago. “There’s just no way to source parts in America right now,” said Monster Moto Chief Executive Alex Keechle during a tour of the company’s assembly plant. “But by planting the flag here, we believe suppliers will follow.” CNBC

That’s The Randle Report for April 17, 2017

Join us again tomorrow morning for all of the American South’s business, economic development and political news in real time and in one place. Use the sort buttons or the search window to find any story you need to find from last week, last month, last year or several years ago. Click on the headline above to access Southern Business & Development’s website, the economic development magazine of the American South; the fourth largest economy in the world.

The long, rough ride ahead for ‘Made in America’

Mini motorcycle and go-kart maker Monster Moto made a big bet on U.S. manufacturing by moving assembly to this Louisiana town in 2016 from China. But it will be a long ride before it can stamp its products “Made in USA.” The loss of nearly one out four U.S. factories in the last two decades means parts for its bike frames and engines must be purchased in China, where the manufacturing supply chain moved years ago. “There’s just no way to source parts in America right now,” said Monster Moto Chief Executive Alex Keechle during a tour of the company’s assembly plant. “But by planting the flag here, we believe suppliers will follow.” CNBC

Jobless claims show labor market remains strong despite a sharp slowdown in growth in March

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting the labor market remains strong despite a sharp slowdown in job growth in March. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended April 8, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the third straight weekly decline in claims and left them not too far from a 44-year low of 227,000 hit in February. Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market, for 110 straight weeks. CNBC

Donald Trump has China-owned Volvo to thank for new car plant in South Carolina

After all of President Donald Trump’s bluster about building more cars in the U.S., the one new plant he can count on will come from a once American-owned Swedish brand flourishing under a Chinese parent. Volvo Car Group opens its $500 million factory late next year and will employ 2,000 workers initially near Charleston, S.C. Trump’s unlikely ally has been on a tear since billionaire Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. bought the company from Ford Motor Co. in 2010 for just $1.5 billion. “We are in a little bit of a strange situation, but that is the result of globalization,” said Lex Kerssemakers, chief executive officer for Volvo North America. “This is how the world is interacting with one another, and it’s unavoidable.” Charlotte Observer

Volkswagen to build a second, smaller SUV in Chattanooga alongside the Atlas

Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant will build a small sport utility vehicle in addition to the midsize Atlas, the German automaker said today at the New York Auto Show. The five-seat SUV is compared to larger Atlas, which will seat seven people when it hits auto dealerships late next month. Hinrich Woebcken, head of Volkswagen’s North American operations, mentioned assembly of the small SUV in a discussion with reporters at the auto show, according to The Wall Street Journal. He declined to say when assembly may start at the plant, which also produces the Passat midsize sedan. Chattanooga Times Free Press

Economist: Key resource enticing China, others to Louisiana for megaprojects like one announced Monday

A $1.12 billion manufacturing complex planned by Wanhua Chemical is the latest in a string of foreign megaprojects for Louisiana and second major one from mainland China, potentially a sign of more to come. “The key reason for this is they really don’t have natural gas. They don’t have the key raw material,” said economist and consultant Loren Scott. “It makes more sense to them financially to make the material out of natural gas here and then ship it to China rather than shipping the LNG (liquefied natural gas) to China.” Baton Rouge Advocate

What will Trump’s energy policies mean for Louisiana? Utility bill impact still unclear

Coal is king in President Donald Trump’s energy initiatives so far, but in natural gas-rich Louisiana, power companies, regulators and environmental groups are waiting to see how his administration’s recent moves translate into concrete policies. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency under then-President Barack Obama introduced the Clean Power Plan, an attempt to reduce pollution from power plants, especially those powered by coal. The EPA celebrated the Plan as “a historic and important step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants that takes real action on climate change.” Baton Rouge Advocate

BP oil spill: Two Louisiana law firms to receive $87 million each in attorney fees

Two law firms in New Orleans and Lafayette that led the massive BP oil spill litigation are set to receive $87.8 million each under a proposed division of about $680 million in class-action attorney fees, according to a court filing this week. The complex case over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico involved a two-phase trial with expert testimony and settlement negotiations over several years. The case consolidated individual economic and medical claims and state government claims from across the country to U.S. District Court in New Orleans. NOLA.com