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Samsung Electronics is in early talks to open a new home appliances factory in the US, in response to US President Donald Trump’s strong criticism about imports and his threat of introducing an import tax.
The South Korean technology giant is the latest global firm to heed Mr Trump’s warning as the new US president has criticised companies of manufacturing abroad for US consumers and threatened to impose hefty tariffs on imports, writes Song Jung-a in Seoul.
Samsung said on Thursday it began reviewing its manufacturing operations “early last fall” before Mr Trump’s election as he campaigned on a promise of bringing back manufacturing jobs to the US.
“Samsung is in preliminary discussions related to opening a new manufacturing facility in the US for home appliances,” the company said. “However, this is a complex process that, like all strategic business decisions, will not be made final until it is determined through proper due diligence and planning that it is the best option for Samsung.”
Samsung’s official confirmation of its new US plant came a month after Mr Trump said on Twitter: “Thank you, @Samsung! We would love to have you!”
But the company declined to provide any more details on the new US plant including how much it plans to invest, how many jobs the plant will create and whether it will shift production of some home appliances from Mexico to the US.
Samsung is already one of the US’s biggest foreign direct investors. It has invested about $17bn in a semiconductor plant in Austin Texas so far and in November just days before Mr Trump’s election Samsung said it would invest more than $1bn in the chip plant to boost production of processor chips for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Mr Trump’s threat of an import tax has prompted global automakers such as Toyota, GM and Ford to increase their investments in the US.
Some South Korean companies have followed suit. Hyundai Motor said in January that it would increase its US investment by 50 per cent over the next five years to $3.1bn. LG Electronics said last week it would build a new $250m home appliances plant in Tennessee to create at least 600 jobs.