Donald Trump finished his Liberty University speech yesterday with a line that left many scratching their heads:
“We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers in this country instead of other countries.”
This was, in fairness, following on from a long period of the speech during which Trump claimed he would move huge swathes of manufacturing back to the US from rivals such as Mexico and China.
In reference to Ford's manufacturing plants in Mexico Trump exclaimed: "You've got to move your plant back. I guarantee you 100 per cent he [Ford's President] will call back and say Mr President we've decided to build our plant in the United States."
"Folks we've gotta stop this we're losing our manufacturing jobs."
Trump was met with raucous applause after each statement, playing on the struggles that America is facing with a manufacturing industry that faces the greatest competition it has ever seen from fast-moving economies like China.
The problem with Trump's statement however is that actually, Apple already does build many of its computers in the US.
Apple's CEO Tim Cook announced back in 2013 that it would start shifting production of its computers back to a huge manufacturing plant in Texas creating at first around 2,000 new jobs.
Indeed every Mac Pro that's sold is made, assembled and shipped from the USA. Apple isn't alone in shifting production back to the US, Intel's microprocessors are fabricated in the US while Tesla's cars are built domestically as well.
That said, if Trump did try and force Apple to move its manufacturing of everything back to the USA there would be enormous problems.
For starters the US would need to catch-up in terms of infrastructure and expertise, China has a well-established ecosystem which specialises in the mass-production of high-complexity technological components. You couldn't just simply build the required factories in the US and get started.