President imposes tariff on washing machines

By Andrew Wigger -

NEWBERRY — This week President Donald Trump approved recommendations to impose safeguard tariffs on imported large residential washing machines.

Last year the U.S. International Trade Commission recommended that the President impose the tariff.

“These cases were filed by American businesses and thoroughly litigated at the International Trade Commission over a period of several months,” said Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “The ITC found that U.S. producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the President. Upon receiving these recommendations, my staff and I conducted an exhaustive process which included opportunities to brief in person and through public comments, public hearings, and meetings with senior representatives. Based on this information, the Trade Policy Committee developed recommendations, which the President has accepted. The President’s action makes clear again that the Trump Administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses in this regard.”

The President approved applying a safeguard tariff-rate quota for three years with the following terms, on large residential washers: First 1.2 million units of imported finished washers, 20% year one, 18% year two and 16% year three. All subsequent imports of finished washers, 50% year one, 45% year two and 40% year three. Tariff on covered parts, 50% year one, 45% year two and 40% year three. Covered parts excluded from tariff, 50,000 units year one, 70,000 units year two and 90,000 units year three.

“Today’s announcement is a great loss for American consumers and workers. This tariff is a tax on every consumer who wants to buy a washing machine. Everyone will pay more, with fewer choice,” a Samsung representative said. “Samsung greatly appreciates the support of the many South Carolina and other officials who have advocated on our behalf. We already have hired more than 600 U.S. workers at our new South Carolina factory, and we began U.S. production of our high-quality washing machines on January 12. Consumers are choosing Samsung premium washing machines for their innovation and design.”

Samsung celebrated their official grand opening in Newberry on Jan. 12 where it was announced that they plan to produce more than one million washing machines in 2018 and create over 1,000 jobs by 2020. Ninety percent of the employees at the Newberry Samsung plant are from the Newberry County area.

Rep. Rick Martin, who advocated for the President to reject the tariff, said this was not the outcome we were hoping for and he is truly disappointed and somewhat heartbroken about the decision.

“I do not know what led to the President’s ultimate decision on this. I do know that Samsung is truly 100% committed to Newberry and South Carolina, and I know the people of Newberry are truly committed to Samsung, we are one big family unit,” he said. “Samsung is going to stand by us and we are going to stand by Samsung.”

Martin said he has been working with Samsung to see how this is going to affect Newberry, if it will at all.

By Andrew Wigger

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.