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From the Business Newsletter

Multi-billion dollar deal to sell SC-made fighter jets approved this week by Trump

You’re seeing the Post and Courier's twice weekly business newsletter. Get all the openings, closings, and the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina here.


Good afternoon. I'm often writing to you about the next hotel developments rising on the peninsula. Sometimes I'm bringing you details about efforts to slow down that development (or explaining it all in podcast form). But our food editor took a different angle this week: how can you use those hotels to your advantage? Check out her guide to navigating the city's hotel lobbies. 

THE ONE TO WATCH: $8 billion deal for SC-made jets

F-16 in flight (copy) (copy)

A Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon in flight. Production of the fighter jet recently moved from Fort Worth, Texas to Greenville. File/Provided/Giri Manullang/Lockheed Martin

This week, the Trump administration gave official approval to a multi-billion dollar sale of South Carolina-made fighter jets. Taiwan may purchase 66 new F-16 aircraft from the U.S., all of which would be produced in Greenville

But tension with China could impact the deal. Geng Shuang, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, announced that China would impose sanctions on the U.S. if the possible arms sale moves forward. 

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency released a statement Tuesday that the $8 billion sale was approved by the State Department. The sale will still have to be OK'd by Congress

If the deal is finalized, it would be the largest F-16 sale to-date that would be produced in Greenville. 

In June of last year, Bahrain — an island nation in the Persian Gulf of about 1.4 million — ordered 16 new F-16s. The $1.12 billion deal was the first to be made that would be fulfilled in Greenville. 

That was followed by a contract with the Central European nation of Slovakia for 14 new F-16 aircraft. Bulgaria is also moving forward with a plan to purchase eight of the fighter jets. 

Until recently, defense giant Lockheed Martin was producing the F-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. Production was moved to Greenville this year. The move was expected to create about 400 jobs in the area. 

Actual production there will start in December, said Leslie Farmer, a spokesperson for Lockheed Martin in Greenville. Some hiring has begun for support positions, Farmer said, and hiring will "ramp up more next year" for the facility's production and technician workforce.

When Lockheed Martin cut the ribbon on its South Carolina facility this spring, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said it was "not a happy day" for "all the bad guys in the world, because these jets are coming your way."

Graham shared his support of the Taiwan deal on Twitter Wednesday, noting that he was "pleased" the aircraft would be built in S.C.

"Standing with Taiwan and trying to have better relations with China are not mutually exclusive goals," Graham wrote

Taiwan is self-governing and has been since 1949, but China still considers Taiwan to be a province that should be eventually be reincorporated with the mainland. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have totaled more than $25 billion between 2007 and 2018, according to the Council on Foreign Relations

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Defense contracts play a significant role in the Palmetto State's economy: A Post and Courier analysis of five years’ worth of recent spending data from the Pentagon’s Office of Economic Adjustment showed $13.1 billion worth of Department of Defense contracts were performed or awarded in the state. 


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OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS:

  • Italian restaurant Antica Napoli Pizzeria is now open in Summerville.
  • Asian kitchen Blue Bento Cafe has leased space in North Charleston. 
  • Indoor children’s playground Skip & Sully’s is coming to Mount Pleasant.
  • A new O2 Fitness on Daniel Island will have its grand opening Saturday. 
  • A six-story Aloft Hotel will be built at a Mount Pleasant shopping center. 

OTHER STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW: 

  • former sales exec accused of stealing Duke Foods recipes says the company is trying get out of paying his commission. (Post and Courier)
  • tire manufacturer is being sued for failing to pay a contractor more than half a million dollars for work at its S.C. plant. (Post and Courier)
  • After months of delays, a key part of the Charleston Harbor deepening project will be performed by Norfolk Dredging Co. (Post and Courier)
  • With all this talk about a possible recession ahead, you probably have questions. This podcast will likely answer some of them. (The Indicator)
  • The divide between retail winners and losers is widening. Big-box stores are faring much better than mall-based clothing chains. (Associated Press)

SOUND SMART AT WORK:

Inside, if needed Liberty Hill (copy)

Liberty Hill is North Charleston's oldest surviving neighborhood, founded in 1871. File/Wade Spees/Staff

"Hey boss, did you know Liberty Hill, North Charleston's oldest surviving neighborhood, was founded by four freed black men in 1871?"

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey says he hopes Liberty Hill's story will be included in the soon-to-be-built International African American Museum. This week, North Charleston will become the first city other than Charleston to make a major donation to the IAAM: $1 million over a four-year period. 

HIRES AND PROMOTIONS:

  • Keaton Green was promoted to vice president at Frampton Constructionwhere he was previously a director. He's based in the Charleston office. 
  • Heather Ducker, former assistant principal at Goose Creek High School, was named administrator for Sedgefield Middle School in Berkeley Co.
  • Brittany Allgood has joined Lou Hammond Group as vice president. Allgood had been working in marketing at Delta Air Lines

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Reach Emily Williams at 843-937-5553. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.

Emily Williams is a business reporter at The Post and Courier, covering tourism and employment. She also writes the Business Headlines newsletter, which is published twice a week. Before moving to Charleston, her byline appeared in The Boston Globe.

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