EDITORIAL: Protection. In our best interest?
Just when it looks like something good is going to happen to rural South Carolina, the Federal Gub-ment goes and messes it up.
Newberry has gotten a giant Samsung washing machines factory. They’re doing their training at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Laurens. Everything’s great.
Then, the Trump Administration announces a tariff on Samsung washing machines. It’s really good thing for Whirlpool. It’s such a good thing for LG, that LG immediately jacks up the price of its washing machines.
Laurens County is going to get two solar farms. Birdseye Energy, Joanna, is an $80 million investment. Southern Comfort, Princeton, is a $3.36 million investment. Everything’s great.
Then, the Trump Administration slaps a tariff on solar panels made in China.
It’s going to take economic minds a lot more sophisticated than ours to determine the long-term effects of this American Protectionism. But Samsung and the Palmetto Conservation Solar Coalition are mad about it. SC Gov. and Trump friend Henry McMaster certainly did not get what he was lobbying the White House for - namely, open competition for washing machines.
Only open competition is going to allow Samsung to succeed, and only by Samsung succeeding will the State of South Carolina recoup its investment in enticing the mega-company here (from South Korea).
South Carolina is filled (over-run?) with foreign companies. Making it more difficult for them to do business in the United States - how could that possibly, ever be in the best interest of South Carolina? About the Trump Tariffs, the Palmetto Conservation Solar Coalition says:
“This short-sighted decision could potentially cost thousands of jobs in South Carolina and all across our nation. On the heels of sweeping tax reform that could put millions to work, these new tariffs are now threatening our local economy. We are disappointed in this decision because we know the impact the solar industry has already had on our state’s economy alone, including thousands of new jobs over the course of just a few years. These tariffs are punitive, anti-business, and will eliminate far more jobs than they create.”
One on-line report had the PCSC commenting this way about the washing machine tariff:
“That tariff could cause South Korean conglomerate Samsung to abandon its recently opened manufacturing facility in Newberry, S.C. ‘The tariff on Samsung alone could cost up to a 1,000 new jobs in Newberry, S.C.,’ the group stated. ‘South Carolina must step up to overcome where our federal government let us down.’”
That might be over-reaction. Samsung is a huge company, and the United States is a huge market. Making washing machines in Newberry (USA) could be a way for the company to take an “end-run” of the Trump Tariffs.
Also, the president is doing exactly what he said on the campaign trail that he would do. Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said, “The President’s action makes clear again that the Trump Administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses in this regard.”
However, you can’t get much more “American” than the hard-working people of Newberry, SC. The Newberry Observer reports, “Samsung celebrated their official grand opening in Newberry on Jan. 12 where it was announced that they plan to produce more than one million washing machines in 2018 and create over 1,000 jobs by 2020. Ninety percent of the employees at the Newberry Samsung plant are from the Newberry County area. ‘Today’s announcement is a great loss for American consumers and workers. This tariff is a tax on every consumer who wants to buy a washing machine. Everyone will pay more, with fewer choice,’ a Samsung representative said. ‘Samsung greatly appreciates the support of the many South Carolina and other officials who have advocated on our behalf. We already have hired more than 600 U.S. workers at our new South Carolina factory, and we began U.S. production of our high-quality washing machines on January 12. Consumers are choosing Samsung premium washing machines for their innovation and design.’”
Those two - “innovation and design” - oh, how we wish American industry had those back. Then, it wouldn’t need protection.