Jul 8, 2018

How Asia could save manufacturing jobs in Ohio

Kasich outside the White House after a meeting with Trump. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A Thai chemical company, PTT, and its South Korean partner, Daelim, are in talks to build a multi-billion dollar petrochemical plant in eastern Ohio that "would create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent positions," reports the AP. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has said the project would be a "game changer."

Why it matters: The Appalachian region, where President Trump picked up scores of votes from working-class Americans, is now looking to two Asian companies to save its disappearing manufacturing jobs.

The details:

  • Trump has pledged to save the steel and aluminum plants of the Rust Belt, but PTT-Daelim project would support another industry. The plant would "crack" molecules of ethane to produce one of raw materials used to make plastic, per the AP.
  • Kasich said: “These hardscrabble areas would clearly be helped. I’m not saying if this comes, everyone’s problems will be solved. But these are great developments.”
  • Yes, but: Local trust in PTT is shaky because the company "reneged on a promise last year to announce a decision [on the plant] by the end of 2017."
  • Larry Merry, executive director of the Belmont County Port Authority, which has been working with the Asian companies, told AP: “It’s a big decision they’re making, and one that I understand is going to take time to make sure they’re making a wise decision." PTT says it has already spent $100 million on planning and land acquisition.

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