Samsung eyes sites in U.S. South

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Samsung eyes sites in U.S. South

In response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” push, Samsung Electronics is rushing to designate a location to build a consumer electronics factory in the United States, with the candidates being either South Carolina or Alabama, according to sources within the electronics giant.

“We are looking into which location would be the best by taking into various factors such as demand, cost effectiveness and logistics,” said a Samsung spokeswoman. “It is true South Carolina or Alabama are considered but nothing has yet to be confirmed,” she added, referencing a report from the Seoul Economic Daily on Monday. She also noted that the annual production volume of 2 million at a new factory mentioned in the article is far-fetched.

Samsung’s hurried preparations for a U.S. manufacturing facility come after Trump tweeted surprise gratitude on Feb. 3 to Samsung about the possibility of the home appliances giant expanding its manufacturing in the states. His tweet “Thank you, @Samsung! We would love to have you!,” contained a link to a post on Axios, an American online media outlet that said, “Samsung is considering constructing a U.S. factory to produce home appliances, per Reuters.”

Given precedence, it takes roughly a year until a factory is constructed from the point of pinning down the location. That raises speculation that Samsung could begin churning out made-in-U.S. white goods as early as the first quarter of next year.

Should the plan materialize, the world’s top TV producer will be joining other Asian tech firms in buttressing Trump’s agenda. Alibaba vowed to create 1 million jobs and SoftBank promised $50 billion in investment and 50,000 jobs. Most recently, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology, the biggest supplier of Apple iPhones and iPads, admitted eyeing a $7 billion U.S. investment at the New Year’s press meeting in Taiwan. Foxconn has been doing the majority of its assembly in China.

The only definite investment Samsung Electronics has confirmed thus far was $1 billion it promised to pour into a semiconductor factory in Austin, Texas, during the first half of this year. The other U.S. manufacturing facility Samsung Electronics has is the Los Angeles factory of Dacor, a luxury kitchen appliances company Samsung acquired last year.

Samsung’s home appliances sold in the U.S. are mainly manufactured in Mexico, where the company operates r factories in Tijuana and Queretaro. Mexican products are able to cross into the United Stateswithout tax according to Nafta, but Trump wants to impose a 20 percent import tariff on Mexican products to raise money to build a border wall.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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