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Trump picks Dow Chemical CEO to lead manufacturing council

Leveris said his company will invest in "a new state-of-the-art innovation center" in Michigan.

Donald Trump said Friday at a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., that Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris will head the American Manufacturing Council in his administration, part of his economic message to "buy American and hire American."

The American Manufacturing Council is the principal private-sector advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce on manufacturing in the United States.

Trump described Liveris as "one of the most respected businessmen in the world" and said he will be tasked with finding ways to bring industry back to America, according to CNN.

Leveris said his company will invest in "a new state-of-the-art innovation center" in Michigan, crediting Trump with creating a business climate that energized his company.

The two men showered each other with praise on Friday. Liveris said the new center will include 200 jobs, half of which will be new and half “repatriated” from other parts of the globe, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“This decision is because of this man and these policies,” Liveris said from the stage of the 6,000-seat Deltaplex Arena in Grand Rapids, adding, “I tingle with pride listening to you.”

Before Friday’s announcement, Dow had shed thousands of jobs as the company streamlines operations and copes with slowing growth in overseas economies. Dow in May 2015 said it would eliminate about 1,750 positions after a deal to separate much of its chlorine operations, and in February of this year the company said it planned to cut an additional 450 jobs.

In June, Dow said it would lay off 2,500 more employees, or about 4 percent of its global workforce, a move that included the planned shutdown of silicones plants in North Carolina and Japan. The move was part of a cost-saving effort Dow projected would save $500 million in annual expenses.

Liveris, an Australian who lives in Michigan, was not always a fan of the president-elect. During the Republican primary he compared the election to reality TV, according to CNN.

"And now the presidential cycle is bringing us 'the Kardashian presidency,' " Liveris said at a business breakfast in Perth, Australia. "I am not sure how big it is in Australia, but reality TV has taken over what most Americans see, and most people are disaffected with Washington and Wall Street and a lot of things like that, and they look at reality TV and they imagine that life, and I think Donald Trump is an incredible marketer of the fantasy of what could be."

The Daily Beast reported in October that emails the State Department released showed that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had close ties to Liveris. In 2010, while Clinton was running the State Department, Liveris asked senior Clinton aides to help his company as it faced a political firestorm in India.

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