Tariffs lead to layoffs at SC company


Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C.

President Donald Trump’s tariffs against China are causing a South Carolina television maker to lay off nearly all of its employees because of the sudden increase in the price of components for its products.

Element TV Company will let 126 workers go, most of them on Oct. 5, leaving behind a skeleton crew of eight employees to watch the Fairfield County plant in hopes it can reopen in three to six months, the company said in a letter to state employment officials Monday.

“The layoff and closure is a result of the new tariffs that were recently and unexpectedly imposed on many goods imported from China, including the key television components used in our assembly operations in Winnsboro,” the company wrote to the state Department of Employment and Workforce.

The Trump administration imposed a 25 percent import tax in July that included Chinese components for TVs and video equipment.

The Element plant opened to huge fanfare about five years ago. Trump’s current U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, was South Carolina governor at the time. In August 2014, she did a live video feed from the plant beamed to a Walmart manufacturing summit, where she spoke about how to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. by selling her state.

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