Business

Japanese Company Invests in Texas While Others Move to Mexico

If it’s cheaper to make things in Mexico, why move to Texas?

A huge new air conditioning plant could bring five thousand new jobs to the Houston area, an example of how even with the lure of cheaper operating costs south of the border, some companies are choosing to expand manufacturing in the U.S.

You may remember AC’s, jobs and Mexico making headlines before.

“These companies aren’t going to be leaving anymore, they’re not going to be taking people’s hearts out,” then President-elect Donald Trump said after he claimed to have convinced another air conditioning company called Carrier to keep some jobs in the U.S., rather then sending them south.

Carrier decided against a big Mexico move at the time, but later said it would move hundreds of jobs there anyway.

So if it’s really cheaper in Mexico, why is there a new 4.1 million square foot air conditioning plant near Hockley?

“We still believe consumers care where the products are made,” said Nathan Walker, an executive with Japanese-owned Daikin Industries. 

Walker said it is cheaper to make things in Mexico, but his company wants to keep jobs here. And even with Mexico so close, Houston has a lot to offer.

“There’s a large pool of talent,” he said. “Engineering talent is pretty well-stocked here.”

Walker said Houston’s large port works to the company’s advantage as well, but there’s also perhaps a simpler explanation. Daikin’s big expansion in Houston is a natural byproduct of its $3.7 billion acquisition of a Houston-based manufacturing company a few years ago.

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Travis Bubenik

Travis Bubenik

Energy & Environment Reporter

Travis Bubenik reports on the tangled intersections of energy and the environment in Houston and across Texas. A Houston native and proud Longhorn, he returned to the Bayou City after serving as the Morning Edition Host & Reporter for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas. Bubenik was previously the...

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