Posted January. 19, 2018 08:53,
Updated January. 19, 2018 09:24
The possibility is growing that U.S. President Donald Trump might take a safeguard action (temporary imports restriction) against South Korean washing machines sold in the United States. “South Korea is dumping their washers and destroying our industry that once provided decent jobs for Americans,” the U.S. president said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday (local time).
Trump’s latest interview is construed as a move to bolster his rationale for the upcoming decision on safeguard measures against South Korean washing machines, whose deadline falls on Feb. 2. It appears that President Trump was confused with safeguard and dumping as the latter refers to a massive trade influx of low-priced goods while the former is designed to curb a surge of imports. Industry experts in South Korea are already bracing themselves for the worst, however, interpreting Mr. Trump’s remarks as an “effective warning to invoke safeguard measures.”
Concern is raised in South Korea’s electronics industry that once imposed, the safeguard action will affect not only washers, but other types of products. “Once a direction is taken (by the U.S. government), the next target could be vacuum cleaners or refrigerators,” said Song Dae-hyun, president of LG's home appliances and air solutions unit, during a press meeting in November last year. “It is difficult to predict, but we are preparing for all possibilities taken into account.”
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, the two major South Korean companies to bear the brunt of safeguard measures by the U.S. government, have refrained from presenting an official stance on the issue, but they are devising response measures for different scenarios. On Friday (local time), Samsung Electronics began the operation of their new home appliances factory at South Carolina. Samsung’s new U.S. factory boasts a capacity of producing one million units of washing machines a year. LG Electronics has also advanced the operation date of their new factory from February 2019 to the fourth quarter of this year.