Uniqlo to leave US if Trump insists the retailer makes all its clothes in America
By April Kirstin Chua
Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo has announced plans to leave the United States market if President Donald Trump would insist on his policy.
The US president has long promoted a change on how foreign businesses should run their operations - and that is to revive American manufacturing.
Tadashi Yanai, chairman and president of Fast Retailing Co. that owns the famous clothing chain Uniqlo, has told Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun that he would close stores if Trump insists on having their clothes manufactured in the US. A former businessman himself, Trump has promised during his campaign to revive US manufacturing and push for business domestically rather than internationally. He also planned on imposing a tariff on goods coming into the US, which would increase prices for consumers.
Yanai, on the other hand, refused to be given an ultimatum. "If I was directly told to do so, I will withdraw from the United States," the Uniqlo head told the Japanese newspaper. He also agreed that having taxes on foreign imports would raise costs and be bad for consumers.
"We would not be able to make really good products [in the U.S.] at costs that are beneficial to customers," he said in the Japanese news report. "It would become meaningless to do business in the U.S." A Uniqlo spokesman told NBC News and added that the company would stay true to its business values by offering the highest quality of clothes at affordable prices.
Uniqlo has over 51 stores in the United States with plans to open at least 20 more this year. But with the current turn of events, Yanai will continue to look on what Trump and the Congress would do on trade before Uniqlo pushes for more stores. Notably, the brand's presence in the US is limited and it had gone through numerous expansion failures in the past but the country remains as one of its top priority markets.
Uniqlo is not the only company affected by Trump's change in policy as carmakers and other manufacturers have been urged by the administration to move manufacturing to the US.