It has been found that Samsung Electronics is considering building a TV production plant in the United States. This means that Samsung Electronics takes preemptive actions as the US is showing a sign of spreading mounting pressures on Korean-made steel, solar energy panels, and household appliances to Samsung's core business items such as TVs and semiconductors.
According to multiple sources in Korean business circles on February 26, Samsung Electronics recently began to feasibility study on constructing a TV production line in the United States. Portland in Oregon and Richland in Washington are being considered as strong candidates. Portland is home to world-class semiconductor company Intel and global sporting goods manufacturer Nike. In addition to these, Samsung Electronics is also considering an area around Newberry Home Appliance Plant (for washing machines) in South Carolina, which was recently put into operation. "Even though the size of the factory and the time to break ground for the factory were not set yet, I know that Samsung is mulling over a possibility that the company will be always faced with a situation where they have to run a TV production line in the US," said an official familiar with Samsung.
Some industry watchers say that Samsung Electronics’s moving forward with the construction of a TV production plant in the US cuts across indiscriminate trade offensives by the Trump administration. President Trump claimed that the United States only suffered a loss through the Korea-US free trade agreement (FTA), adding, "We must slap mutual reciprocity tax on Korean-made TVs." President Trump intends to take retaliation measures targeting TV to cut down on the US’s trade deficits with Korea.
As a presidential hopeful, Trump pledged to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This pledge is also posing as a potential risk. Samsung Electronics is producing TVs at a plant in Tijuana, Mexico, which is located near the border with the United States, and supplies them to the US market with no tariffs. If and when the US leaves the NAFTA, 35% tariffs will be imposed on such TVs, weakening their price competitiveness weakens significantly.