Vox’s Aaron Rupar posted a clip this morning of Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross talking to Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo and is insinuating that Ross linked the coronavirus outbreak in China to helping the U.S. economy:
Secretary Wilbur Ross says coronavirus will be good for [checks notes] American jobs: "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America." pic.twitter.com/Y4SbDIcTi4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 30, 2020
But that’s not exactly what Ross said. Here’s the transcript, where it’s clear Ross is talking about companies analyzing the risk of putting operations in China when, as we can see currently and in the recent past, that outbreaks such as coronavirus will threaten their supply chain:
MB: “You can seriously see the Chinese economy come to a halt and given the large percentage of global growth that China commands, does that actually threaten what you’re just saying?”
WR: “Well, first of all, every American’s heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus. So I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease. But the fact is that it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain. On top of all the other things — you have SARS, you have the African swine virus there, now you have this — it’s another risk factor that people need to take into account. So I think it will help accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to U.S., some to probably Mexico as well.”
Ross is arguing that companies have under-valued the risk of having manufacturing in China and that, after a reevaluation, more companies will move their manufacturing to more stable countries. Where’s the controversy?
And we’re already seeing reports of supply-chain problems because of the outbreak and containment measures:
Coronavirus could hurt iPhone sales in China and Apple's supply chain, says top analyst https://t.co/VSxJd6N4RC
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 29, 2020
What Ross is saying is that companies need to price disease outbreaks into their risk calculations of doing business in China. It’s actually a really big deal:
A fairly exhaustive list of US Companies that have full exposure to China 🇨🇳 and would be the highest at-risk for any additional #CoronaVirus or Supply Chain headline losses. pic.twitter.com/BPeYxnE2Ay
— Alex Beaton (@apbeaton) January 27, 2020
Bottom line: there is not enough transparency in the pharmaceutical supply chain to know how this will affect drug supplies.
— Michael Ganio (@mganio_ASHP) January 27, 2020
It’s hitting Europe, too:
— Resilience360 (@resilience360) January 30, 2020
Chinese stocks are down big this morning on the worry as well:
— Bloomberg Next China (@next_china) January 30, 2020
Now, here’s a better way Rupar could have covered the same clip:
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tells @MariaBartiromo coronavirus in China will help “accelerate return of jobs” to US…
anecdotally true to say some major manufacturers looking at supply chain alternatives, but eg SE Asia. Not yet in numbers.pic.twitter.com/rXnld7G3iJ
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) January 30, 2020
But, nah. Why would a guy who works for a website that supposed to ‘splain thing actually do some ‘splaining?