Photo/IllutrationTadashi Yanai, chairman and president of Fast Retailing Co., speaks in New York on March 29. (Takashi Ebuchi)

NEW YORK--The head of a company that operates Uniqlo casual clothing stores on March 29 criticized President Donald Trump, threatening to shutter its U.S. operation if ordered to manufacture its products in the United States.

“If I was directly told to do so, I will withdraw from the United States,” Tadashi Yanai, chairman and president of Fast Retailing Co., said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun and other media.

Trump, who is aiming to boost employment in the United States, has urged carmakers and other manufacturers to produce their products in the country and singled them out in tweets. He has also expressed a policy of imposing “border taxes” on products imported into the United States.

“(What Trump is doing) is not beneficial for U.S. consumers. Anyone will think that it is an open-and-shut and impossible situation,” Yanai said.

As for production in the United States, Yanai said that it is impossible to manufacture quality products at a cost that is affordable for consumers.

“If (manufacturing products in the United States) is not a good decision for consumers, it is meaningless to do business in the United States,” he said.

Currently, there are about 50 Uniqlo stores in the United States, with many of these located in urban areas. Yanai plans to accelerate the pace of opening outlets.

“I want to open 20 to 30 stores a year,” he said.