U.S. firms are moving factories home to be closer to customers

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By Tom Walsh, Detroit Free Press Columnist.

Globalization, for many years, was kind of a dirty word in America — particularly here in Michigan, where we always seemed to get the short end of the stick as far as jobs and trade imbalances with China, Japan and, as H. Ross Perot memorably phrased it, “that giant sucking sound” from Mexico.

Lately, though, we keep hearing stories of big U.S. companies bringing work back home from abroad: Apple making computers in Texas as well as China; Ford, General Motors and Chrysler shifting work and thousands of jobs from Mexico; Wal-Mart vowing to boost purchases of U.S.-made goods by $50 billion over 10 years.

What are we to make of this spate of insourcing, re-shoring or whatever we’re supposed to call it?

Last Tuesday, I got to chew on this complex topic as moderator of a Detroit Economic Club panel discussion titled “Deglobalization: Retooling Global Operations for Strategic Advantage,” during the four-day Big M manufacturing event at Cobo Center.

This article was first published by the Detroit Free Press

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Contact Tom Walsh: 313-223-4430 or twalsh@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomWalsh_freep.

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