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Siemens CEO Kaeser praises Trump's tax plan

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | February 19, 2018
Business Affairs
While at the Munich Security Conference Thursday, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser told business news channel CNBC that "there is a very, very good chance that a lot of jobs are being created because the companies have more money to spend on innovation and growth."

Trump hosted an intimate dinner for a dozen or so top execs at Davos in January, which was attended by Kaeser.

"There’s been a lot of warmth, a lot of respect for our country, and a lot of money - billions and billions of dollars coming into the U.S.," Trump said to those in attendance.

Kaeser had an equally supportive exchange with Trump , according to the White House transcript of the event:

“MR. KAESER: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for inviting me today. Obviously, I work for Siemens. We’ve got 56,000 people working in the United States; $34 billion revenues. (Inaudible.) So, congratulations on your tax reform. You said this is what you’re going to do. (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: We said it. And, by the way, when he says he works for Siemens, he’s the president of Siemens, but that’s okay. (Laughter.) It’s a good way of saying it. But go ahead.

MR. KAESER: But don’t you work for your country?

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we work for our country. That’s right. (Laughter.) Same thing. And Siemens is doing good?

MR. KAESER: We’re doing really well. As a matter of fact, we’ve been investing quite a lot into the country. And since you have been successful with tax reform, we decided to develop next-generation gas turbines in the United States.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, that’s a big thing. That’s very big. That’s fantastic.

MR. KAESER: It is.

THE PRESIDENT: Where will that be developed?

MR. KAESER: Charlotte.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, Charlotte is great. That’s fantastic. Well, thank you. On behalf of Charlotte, thank you very much — and our country.

MR. KAESER: Our pleasure. Thank you.”

Only one issue with the exchange. The Charlotte plans had been announced in August, three months before the tax plan became law, according to the Charlotte Observer.

In fact, noted the newspaper, “Siemens’ turbine announcement won’t add new jobs in Charlotte, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak on the record. The announcement also doesn’t mean that manufacturing work is moving to Charlotte from overseas.”

Despite the question of the relationship between U.S. tax changes and Charlotte decisions, Kaeser explained to CNBC that he felt the tax plan, which could add at least $1 trillion to the U.S. national debt, would still be a “net positive” for job creation.

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