President-elect Donald Trump on Dec. 9 named Dow Chemical Co. Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris to head his incoming administration's new American Manufacturing Council.
At an evening rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., Trump introduced Liveris as the council's leader and said the group would work to help revitalize manufacturing in the United States.
“They will be tasked with finding ways to bring industry back to America, industry and manufacturing back to America,” Trump said.
Trump told the crowd that Liveris would name the other members of the council next week.
Liveris said he was honored by the appointment, and announced at the rally that Dow would be building a new innovation center at its Midland, Mich., headquarters.
In a statement, Dow said the innovation center will add 100 newly created jobs while repatriating 100 jobs from other Dow facilities around the world to Midland.
Other states had courted Dow, and in May Michigan officials were worried that the company would choose to invest elsewhere.
“We chose Michigan, our home for more than 119 years because of the highly skilled workforce in the state and because we believe the incoming Presidential administration understands the importance of R&D investment and its multiplier impact on U.S. manufacturing jobs,” Liveris said in the statement.
In June, Dow said it would cut 2,500 jobs globally, or about 4 percent of its workforce, as part of its acquisition of Dow Corning.
At the rally, Liveris specifically linked the innovation center to Trump.
“Tonight, in honor of the president elect and his being here to thank you all, we've made a decision, we're going to invest a new state of the art innovation center, in Michigan,” he said.
“This decision,” Liveris said, as Trump walked over the two men clasped hands, “this decision is because of this man, and these policies.”
“We're going to use American hard work and American brains and we're going to fight for the Dow company out of the USA,” Liveris said. “President elect Trump, I can't tell you, I tingle with pride listening to you.”
Liveris said the council would work on pro-manufacturing policies to make it easier to invest and do business in the United States.
“Not a red tape country but a red-carpet country for American businesses,” Liveris said. “America first, as you said.”
Dow said it's created more than 6,000 jobs in the United States in the last four years, with a “significant portion” coming from investments in the Gulf Coast, where Dow is spending more than $6 billion on new facilities.
At the rally, Trump echoed the strong themes on trade from his campaign, and told the crowd that “no state has been hurt worse by our trade deals than the state of Michigan.”
He said his administration would “withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, renegotiate NAFTA and stand up to foreign cheating and fight for every last American job and every last job that belongs in Michigan.”
Chemical industry associations, however, have defended trade deals and said “sound trade frameworks” are important to realizing the full potential of the $175 billion being invested in U.S. chemical production because of shale gas.
The Washington-based American Chemistry Council in a Nov. 9 post-election statement said “we agree that trade should be fair, and also know firsthand that trade can unlock potential in our economy and create jobs here at home.”
ACC has previously said it supports the Trans-Pacific trade pact and a new trade agreement being negotiated between the United States and Europe, and said they are important steps in its trade agenda. Liveris is a previous chairman of ACC.