Trump unveils companies' $500 million U.S. drug packaging project

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a strength vial test accompanied by Corning Pharmaceutical Glass Chairman and CEO Wendell Weeks during a "Made in America" event on pharmaceutical glass manufacturing, at the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Thursday announced a $500 million investment that Corning Inc is making with pharmaceutical giants Merck and Pfizer to manufacture a new kind of glass for injectable drug vials.

At a White House event, Trump said the effort will create nearly 1,000 jobs at facilities in New York and New Jersey and at a soon-to-be-determined site in the southeastern United States.

The deal could eventually result in a total investment of $4 billion and create around 4,000 jobs, Trump said, joined by the CEOs of Corning, Merck and Pfizer.

The commitments were made as part of Trump’s “Made in America” week, during which he has showcased American-made products and made an impassioned defense of his “America First” policies.

Corning said it developed the new type of glass in collaboration with the drugmakers.

“This initiative will bring a key industry to our shores that for too long has been dominated by foreign countries. We’re moving more and more companies back into the United States,” Trump said.

After the remarks, Trump tested the strength of the new Corning Valor Vial. Pressing down on an old vial in a vise-like machine, he easily broke it but struggled to break one of the new vials despite putting far greater effort into it.

Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Michael Erman; in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Cynthia Osterman