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President Trump and Bernard Arnault to Open New Louis Vuitton Factory in Johnson County Texas

Rosemary Feitelberg

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TRUMP AND ARNAULT: Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, has lined up a power group for Thursday’s opening of the Louis Vuitton Rochambeau Ranch in Johnson County, Tex. — none other than President Trump, as well as first daughter Ivanka Trump and Texas state officials. Arnault will also be joined at the event by other LVMH senior executives, including Louis Vuitton’s chairman and ceo Michael Burke.

Billed as the luxury house’s newest leather goods “workshop,” the facility is meant to reflect LVMH’s commitment to bring new jobs to the U.S., according to press material provided by the company Sunday. The plan is to create 1,000 jobs in the next five years at the facility near Keene, Tex. By doing so, Louis Vuitton is making good on its support of the Pledge to America’s Workers, the educational training program that was launched last year. Apple, FedEx and Boeing are among the companies that have signed up with the aim being to create six million training opportunities

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In January 2017, Armault discussed the prospect of moving more factory jobs — among other subjects — to the U.S. with then-President-elect Trump at Trump Tower in New York. His son Alexandre also joined him on that trip.

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This week’s opening also signals Louis Vuitton’s commitment to extensive training in leather goods craftsmanship for all employees as an effort to meet the increased demand in the U.S. market for Louis Vuitton products. Located on 260 acres, the Rochambeau Ranch is named for Marshal Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, the general who helped the 13 colonies win independence during the American Revolution.

Bolstering domestic production has been one of Trump’s rallying cries. While domestic fashion brands have spoken about the benefits of reshoring — improved quality control and working conditions — most continue to produce the bulk of their goods overseas where production costs are substantially cheaper. In the U.S., there are 1.8 million fashion-related jobs including 232,000 in manufacturing textiles for apparel and footwear, according to the Joint Economic Committee Democratic Bureau of Labor.

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