Samsung North America Chief Executive Officer Tim Baxter criticized President Trump's recently imposed tariffs on imported goods, having equaled them to taxes and concluded they're hurting consumers in a Monday interview with Fortune. The South Korean original equipment manufacturer opened a new South Carolina factory in January after investing some $400 million into the facility with the goal of moving the production of some of its premium appliances stateside but doesn't appear to believe Washington is supportive of its financial commitments to the country. Its washing machines and several other product lineups are now being hit with additional import tariffs, incurring extra costs that will have to be passed on to consumers, according to Mr. Baxter.
Samsung is the leading washing machine manufacturer in the United States and its new South Carolina factory hired over 650 people before starting operations this winter, with the firm now raising the prices of some of its models by up to $100 as a result of the new tariffs. While the Seoul-based company is displeased with the current state of affairs, Mr. Baxter says U.S. investments will continue, both outside and in South Carolina where the firm is planning to add 1,000 additional jobs over the course of the next two years. Despite existing difficulties, Samsung remains adamant to continue building on its 40-year history in the country, according to its North America chief.
Samsung presently employs approximately 20,000 American workers and is involved in numerous stateside industries spanning everything from consumer electronics to wireless infrastructure, with the latter sector now being one of its fastest-growing North American businesses thanks to the advent of 5G. The existing trade-related tensions between Washington and Beijing have been easing in recent days, with President Trump lending a helping hand to crippled ZTE, whereas China is now understood to be pushing for a speedier antitrust review of Qualcomm's proposed acquisition of Dutch NXP Semiconductors valued at $44 billion.