By Ginger Gibson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would impose taxes on Carrier air conditioning units manufactured in Mexico in light of the company's decision to move production from Indiana, a position in line with his strong opposition to international trade deals.
Video of the company's announcement last week to employees went viral on the Internet, showing emotional reactions to the loss of jobs while a representative of the company explained the move was "strictly a business decision." Carrier, a manufacturer of air conditioning units, is owned by United Technologies Corp and announced it would be moving 1,400 jobs to Monterrey, Mexico.
During Saturday night's Republican debate, Trump said if he were president, he would approach Carrier officials and give them two choices.
"I'm going to tell them, 'Now I'm going to get consensus from Congress and we're going to tax you,'" Trump said. "'So stay where you are [in Mexico] or build in the United States.' Because we are killing ourselves with trade pacts that are no good for us and no good for our workers."
A central part of Trump's campaign message has been his opposition to international trade pacts that allow products manufactured overseas to be imported with limited or no tariffs. It's a policy position that reverberates with middle- and low- income Americans, who have watched manufacturing jobs leave the country in the last several decades.
Trump cited the video of the workers, which has more than 2.8 million views on YouTube, at the debate.
"If you saw the people, because they have a video of the announcement that Carrier is moving to Mexico, they were laid off," he said. "They were crying. It was a very sad situation."
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Bill Trott)