Why did Trump praise Nokia if it is outsourcing American jobs?

Why did Trump praise Nokia if it is outsourcing American jobs?
No, not that Nokia. The one that the Finns kept is a telecom equipment powerhouse, and one of the few options for the US to wean off its dependence on the value-for-money Huawei gear. 

While rural carriers (or T-Mobile) are warning that it won't be easy (or soon) finding alternatives to Huawei's base stations and other mobile network equipment, the White House administration is pushing ahead with its agenda to divest from Chinese-sourced gear on the basis of national security interests trumping over the free market economy creed.

There are only a handful of companies that can replace Huawei's telecom equipment, all of which are a worse proposition when it comes to value. Scandinavian companies like Nokia and Ericsson are the ones most likely to reap the benefits from the bans and tariffs levied on Chinese juggernauts like Huawei or ZTE, as the US simply doesn't have comparable technology and it will take a while to get there.

In the meantime, the next best thing is a company like Nokia that has 14,000 employees in the US, and which President Trump praised during a recent meeting with the Finnish president:


The thing is, however, that in order to stay marginally competitive, Nokia has to wean itself off high-paying jobs in countries like the US, and move the development, production and services of its 4G/5G gear to countries like India, where the next big mobile revolution is shaping up. What's also shaping is higher import tariffs on stuff that is not made in India, so Apple and Samsung already built factories to make handsets there, and Nokia is following suit with its networking equipment now. 

What does that mean for American workers employed by Nokia? Well the Communication Workers of America's Telecommunications & Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton puts it succinctly:


Needless to say, this statement will probably fall on deaf ears, at least until Huawei is used as a giant pawn in the ongoing trade and tariff negotiations between the US and China. While leveling the playing field with Beijing has been long overdue, there's bound to be some collateral damage on the way there, and highly paid American jobs, in addition to higher equipment prices, may be it, no matter how the White House feels about the longer run. Or, it could just be a union thing.

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