Samsung Electronics’ U.S. washing machine factory starts production

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) said on Saturday its new home appliance factory in the United States had begun producing washing machines, as it awaits a U.S. government decision that could curb imports of the machines.

The new factory in Newberry, South Carolina, aims to produce 1 million washing machines in 2018 and create over 1,000 jobs by 2020, Samsung said in a statement.

It announced the $380 million plant in June 2017.

In November, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) recommended tariffs to keep Samsung and domestic rival LG Electronics (066570.KS) from selling inexpensive washing machines in the U.S. market, a step that would benefit American appliance maker Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N).

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision on the recommendation early this year.

“Because we are committed to supplying the U.S. market from Newberry, no remedy is necessary,” said John Herrington, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Home Appliances for Samsung Electronics America, about the tariff recommendation before a U.S. trade committee earlier this month.

If the United States decides to take action to “lock in” Samsung’s commitment, tariffs recommended by the ITC that will “facilitate Samsung’s transition from importer to domestic producer” should be chosen, Herrington said, citing the ITC, according to a Samsung statement.

The plant, Samsung’s first U.S. appliances factory in more than three decades, was among a long list of investment pledges by global companies reacting to pressure from Trump to create more U.S. jobs.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Mark Potter

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