The ongoing US-China trade war under Trump's administration threatens the livelihood of the last remaining television production plant in America, reports Reuters. Element Electronics, a factory based in South Carolina that assembles televisions for Walmart, runs the risk of being closed after a new proposal would impose a 25 percent import tax on all Chinese goods.
Element opened its factory in 2012 and supplied the majority of its TV & # 39; s to Walmart & # 39; s Made in America initiative. The factory assembles its TVs using components made in China by testing, packing and inserting memory boards on the device. Although most of the TV itself is made in China, Element must state on the packaging that its products are "Assembled in the USA" (this practice has drawn criticism from the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a non-profit organization that is lobbying for domestic goods.)
Element was earlier ready to close last summer following the initial tariff proposal from President Trump. At that time, the factory, which employed 250 people, told its employees that they were all fired until the Trump administration cleared television parts from the tax-eligible list.
According to Reuters, the US had 150 TV manufacturers in the 1950s. Today, most TVs in the US are assembled and produced in Asia, while 40 percent of television sets imported into the country come from Mexico. A recent threat from the Trump administration to impose taxes on Mexican goods in an effort to tighten border control may have provided Element Electronics with a price advantage, but the tariff rules never came true. Element TVs currently sell for around $ 200 for a new LED HDTV with built-in streaming apps such as Netflix and Pandora.
The US is expected to continue talks with China at this weekend's G20 summit, so while the two sides are talking about how the rules will take effect, Element says the company will bring in more components than usual in preparation for holiday season as "Buffer against the unknown."