Trump vows to stop outsourcing, as POTUS

The former American president means to turn the United States into a manufacturing superpower instead — which should worry India

Surely Mr Modi knows Trump means to MAGA, not India?
Surely Mr Modi knows Trump means to MAGA, not India?


Former American president Donald Trump has promised to end outsourcing if re-elected, which should sound alarm bells across India's multi-billion dollar outsourcing industry — whose largest customer is the US.

'Stop outsourcing, and turn the United States into a manufacturing superpower,' said Trump’s 2024 Republican Party platform, released ahead of the party convention next week to anoint him as the party nominee for the White House, in his third run.

The platform is a list of 20 promises that articulate Trump’s 'vision to Make America Great Again [MAGA] in a way that is concise and digestible for every voter', said Trump's senior campaign advisors Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles. His team adds:

While Joe Biden and the Democrats argue about who will be at the top of their ticket and have implemented policies that have raised prices on everyday families, opened the floodgates to migrant crime via wide-open borders, shackled American energy with red tape forced by Washington bureaucrats, and sewn chaos across the world through weak foreign policy, President Trump will Make America Great Again through these America First principles.

The platform is a mix of the party’s conservative agenda and populist measures. It includes promises to:

  • 'seal the border'

  • conduct the largest ever deportation programme

  • 'prevent World War Three'

  • tax cuts for workers

  • end inflation

  • build the strongest military in the world

  • bring peace to Europe and West Asia, and

  • retain the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

However, the Indian government and businesses will be alarmed by the promise to end outsourcing, in particular, which brings back memories of a slew of measures announced in Trump's first term (2017–2021) to curb outsourcing — which targeted the Indian companies that dominated the outsourcing industry in the US.

At the time, the administration had targeted the H-1B visa programme that American companies use to make up for the shortage in local manpower for high-speciality jobs.

The US accounts for an estimated 62 per cent of the business that the Indian outsourcing industry gets worldwide. US companies that have outsourced to Indian companies include giants like Ford Motors, Cisco, American Express (Amex), General Electrics and Microsoft.

Of course, it’s not unusual for US presidents to rail against outsourcing and offshoring in general, as vast swatches of the country were wiped clean of manufacturing jobs that got shipped abroad to low-wage countries in a globalised economy.

President Joe Biden had called for an offshoring tax penalty in his platform for the 2020 election and former president Barack Obama called frequently and urgently for US companies to bring back outsourced jobs, threatening them with tax disincentives.

But are they comparable? Memories of the mass recalls from that first Trump Era will be giving many a corporate executive — and presumably government officials, in an India already battling widespread unemployment — a series of nightmares.

Edited agency inputs

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