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Posted on: June 2, 2017

CBS: "U.S. losing to Germany in trade? South Carolina community doesn't think so"


By David Begnaud CBS News

President Trump’s tweet about trade with Germany struck a nerve in a southern state he won: South Carolina.

"This is one of those cases where the president should have gotten his facts first before he went on attack because it’s just wrong," said Ted Pitts, who runs the Chamber of Commerce.

In the Upstate region alone, there are 442 international companies -- 136 of them German.

"We need to build stronger relationships with German companies who have made a huge impact on South Carolina and its people," Pitts said.

Cody Crandall, 23, sought out an assembly-line job at BMW’s largest manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County.

"The starting pay was excellent. It was one of the best in the area," he said.

"So what do you say to the president who’s saying that Germany may not be giving us a good deal?" CBS News asked.

"I think he needs to check out Spartanburg, South Carolina, and check out the BMW plant here," Crandall said.

Nine thousand people are employed at the sprawling, state-of-the-art complex, with assembly line workers making upwards of $60,000 a year.

Every day, 1,400 cars roll off the BMW assembly line. More than 70 percent are exported.

"BMW has been the gift that keeps on giving," said County Councilman David Britt.

Britt helped lure BMW to the area in 1992 after it lost 25,000 textile jobs.

"Without BMW, that facility out there would be a peach field still today and the people of Spartanburg would be hurting badly," he said.

Look around locally, and you can see how the area is thriving.

Pat Theo opened a family restaurant down the road from the plant. BMW, she says, has improved her bottom line by 50 percent, and she is happy to give back. It’s why workers eat there, in uniform, every day.

"People know, if you have that little emblem on your shirt that you’re part of something that’s pretty amazing," Crandall said.

BMW pays millions in taxes that go to services such as schools and the local fire department. The company doesn’t get any incentive that isn’t offered to other international companies. All incentives are performance-based.

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