How Does This Whole Kate Middleton Controversy Tie Into American Manufacturing?

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Mar 12 2024 |
Photo/Possible Complete Photoshop Fabrication courtesy of the Prince and Princess of Wales

Well, it doesn’t. But there’s a new EV charger factory coming to Maryland thanks to Buy America preferences, so I guess I’ll blog about that instead.

Like any red-blooded American — and one whose job centers on growing well-paid American jobs and Made in USA products — I spent much of Monday doing my patriotic duty: Trying to figure out what is going on with Her Royal Highness Catherine, Princess of Wales.

And like many of my fellow Americans, I’ve got a lot of questions: Where has she been these past several months? How sick is she — is she really sick? Did she call paparazzi last week to photograph her sitting in an Audi with her mom — or was that really even her? Why did she go overboard with Photoshopping that photo she posted on Sunday — or was she actually the one doing the Photoshopping? Where was she going on Monday with William in that car — or was that even her? And who exactly is the Marchioness of Cholmondeley and how does she play into this — and what exactly is a marchioness anyway?

Like I said, I’ve got a lot of questions. And if Matt gets like, 1,000 words to write about a nearly 40-year-old movie, I feel that I should have the space to work this all out, too.

But you know what I don’t have a lot of questions about? Buy America. Because Buy America works, and we continue to see the proof of it.

Here’s the latest example: Electric Vehicle charger maker Blink Charging announced on Monday that it will build a new, 30,000 square foot factory in Maryland. The company already has established its global headquarters there, and the new factory “will function as the central hub for Blink’s in-house manufacturing and production in North America.”

The key part:

In alignment with the Build America, Buy America Act, this new facility will enable Blink to increase domestic manufacturing operations, replacing previous overseas production. Maryland will serve as the assembly site for Blink’s Series 6Series 7, and Series 8 L2 chargers.

Blink Charging’s decision to invest in American production — and notably moving that production from overseas — likely would not have happened without Build America, Buy America. That law provided the incentive for companies like Blink Charging to invest in U.S. facilities; there have been at least $161 billion worth of EVs and battery investments in the United States since President Biden took office, according to the White House.

The Biden administration also deserves credit for issuing strong domestic content standards for EV chargers in its implementation of Build America, Buy America. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced back in February 2023 that all EV chargers made by companies wishing to tap into funds available to them via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law must be assembled in the United States and, as of 2024, 55% of their component costs must be sourced in the United States, too.

And lo and behold, here’s an EV charging company moving foreign production to the United States in order to access these incentives.

Like I said, there’s no question about whether Buy America works as intended — it does. The only real question is whether the United States will continue to strengthen these commonsense preferences. The FHWA’s decision last week to finally end its 40-year, overly broad general waiver of Buy America for manufactured products is a strong indication that things are heading in the right direction.

O.K., with that all settled, back to work figuring out this Kate Middleton thing.