DETROIT (WWJ) – With concerns about American jobs lost to foreign trade a major issue in this year’s presidential race, it was a unique ceremony in Warren Monday — as local, state and federal officials celebrated the purchase of a longtime Macomb County auto supplier by a larger Chinese company.
“I keep being asked how many jobs we will lose, not a damn one,” said Kirk Goins, the CEO of Paslin.
Goins says the sale of Paslin to China’s Wanfeng Auto Holdings will create 150 new jobs this year alone.
Paslin, which makes automation for the auto industry, has been operating in Macomb County since 1937. It had recently been owned by a private equity firm, which sold it to Wanfeng.
Private equity firms generally own companies for short periods of time, looking to transition them to long-term owners. Goings says that’s what’s happened in this case.
“Transitioning to Wanfeng, we move to a strategic home, somebody who wants this business for hundreds of years and wants to develop it and grow it. The other thing we get out of this is an easy access to the Asian market.”
The new ownership ceremony brought in dignitaries from the United States and China.
“We are confident the combined force of Paslin and Wengfong will great organization.” said Tommy Wu, Wangfeng’s CEO.
The plan, says Wu, is to expand Paslin’s business.
“One of the top priorities for Paslin will be to establish a better R and D facility to promote the automation technical innovation.”
Wanfeng also owns Meridian automotive. Several auto suppliers have been purchased by Chinese ownership.
“This will bring great benefit to local people and the local economy,” said Hong Wang, the Vice General Council from the Chinese Consulate in Chicago.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has made a number of trade trips to China. He says he understands the concern about international trade, but says relationships across borders can create a lot of jobs.
“We need to build more global ties and relationships,” he said. “That’s why it’s important that we work hard to get to know China better, but also Europe, other parts around the world.”
Concerns have been raised about American jobs being lost to lower paid workers overseas. Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller says fair trade can build jobs in both countries.
“Today is really a wonderful celebration of seeing dollars come back the other way…coming back to us.”