Responding to concerns about patriotism

I received a very interesting email from a prospective client. He is concerned that the Americans working for PassageMaker have lost their patriotism for the USA.

This is an interesting conundrum. How do you promote business in China, without seeming to run down your home country?

Here is my [edited] response for what it is worth:

Thank you for your email. All of us at PassageMaker look forward to working with you.

I appreciate your feedback vis-a-vis patriotism. I cannot speak for Mike and Brian, as they have both married into China as it were, but I can tell you that I consider [it PassageMaker’s role to help American businesses] remain viable.

I spent most of my life in the US automotive industry, and the corporate buyers began pressuring us in the mid-to-late 1980s to move production, first to Mexico (after 6 trips to check it out, we decided to pass); to eastern Europe (we had a great 12 year relationship with an excellent supplier in Plzen, Czech Republic); to the Asian Tigers (we started sourcing in Taiwan in 1991 and I lived in Singapore in 1994); and now to China. Left to ourselves, we likely never would have moved anything anywhere.

PassageMaker recognizes that outsourcing is a sensitive subject with many clients, but the sad reality is that buyers expect a “world price”. Having worked in manufacturing for over 20 years, starting with my first job in a machine shop at 14, I know that sometimes American companies can deliver that price. I know my company in Virginia does just that. But many companies, especially start-ups, cannot. They don’t have the tooling, equipment or expertise in place to meet the expectations of the market.

China has a role to play, and that is where PassageMaker comes in. Our goal is to help foreign companies be successful in their dealings with China. If by helping an American company successfully manage their China supply chain, I can make the USA operation more profitable, everyone wins.

While the economic and political environment in the USA are causes for great concern, I agree with your assessment of America [as the exceptional and indispensable ‘city on a hill’ with its best days ahead of it]. It is why I live here.

PassageMaker intends to be a truly global company, with Assembly Centers in every major market. PassageMaker-Mexico will likely be next, but PassageMaker-USA is also on the list. We already have sales presence in USA, EU, Mexico and Brazil [with Asia, India and Africa on their way]. We want to be able to offer a comprehensive supply chain solution, including the option to assemble or complete manufacturing in America, regardless of where the core components are made.

I appreciate your concern and would be happy to discuss this further. Please feel free to call me on my cell.

Whether or not this prospective client takes me seriously has yet to be seen, but my email was sincere. I take no joy in the apparent slow death of American manufacturing, but I also do not think I am the one doing the killing.

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