Samsung announces new
U.S. plant ahead of Trump summit with Moon
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[June 29, 2017]
By Joyce Lee
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co
Ltd said it will open its first U.S. appliances plant in more than three
decades, a politically pleasing investment ahead of South Korean leader
Moon Jae-in's two-day summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The $380 million plant in Newberry County, South Carolina, will produce
washing machines and other appliances from early next year and create
nearly 1,000 jobs by 2020, the South Korean tech giant said.
The move, the latest in a long line of global companies reacting to
pressure from Trump to create more U.S. jobs, has prompted expressions
of goodwill between the two nations ahead of the visit.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday called the investment
"great news", while Trump himself tweeted in February after Samsung said
it was considering such an investment: "Thank you, @Samsung! We would
love to have you!".
But Moon, who will be accompanied by more than 50 South Korean business
leaders, is also expected to face pressure to address his country's
large trade surplus with the United States.
Samsung's investment news was followed up by a statement from South
Korea's biggest business lobby that 52 companies plan to invest a total
of $12.8 billion in the United States over the next five years.
Much of that has already been previously announced and it was not
immediately clear how much was new.
Samsung is the biggest manufacturer of large appliances in the United
States with market share of around 19 percent, according to researcher
Traqline. But it hasn't had a U.S. appliances plant since the early
1990s when it closed a TV factory.
The investment falls into line with Samsung's strategy of boosting
high-end home appliance product sales in the United States. Last year it
acquired U.S.-based luxury appliances maker Dacor Inc.
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Signage is seen at the Samsung 837 store in the Meatpacking District
of Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew
It may also give Samsung more flexibility in production decisions as it
grapples with a complaint by Whirlpool Corp. Its rival has asked a U.S.
government trade panel for stronger protections against imported washing
machines made by Samsung and LG Electronics.
Whirlpool argues the South Korean firms have skirted Commerce Department
anti-dumping orders for years by shifting production to various
countries. A decision on its petition is expected in September.
Samsung's new plant will allow it to increase its speed of delivery to
customers for appliances "that reflect the regional preferences of our
fastest-growing and most important consumer market," Samsung Electronics
Chief Executive B.K. Yoon said in a statement.
U.S. capital spending plans by other South Korean companies include an
announcement by Hyundai Motor and its affiliates in January that they
will boost investment by 50 percent to $3.1 billion over five years.
The automaker has also said it may build a new plant there.
LG Electronics Inc said in March it plans to build a $250 million home
appliance factory in Tennessee employing 600 workers.
South Korea also plans to purchase $22.4 billion worth of U.S. liquefied
natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and other U.S. goods, the Korean
Chamber of Commerce & Industry said.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Additional reporting by David Lawder in
Washington and Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Edwina
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