— At $1,899, one of the priciest washing machines for
sale at Abt Electronics in Glenview, Ill., is Samsung’s
two-washers-in-one-machine Steel FlexWash. As a result
of new tariffs approved by President Donald Trump on
Tuesday, that price tag is about to get steeper.
considering solar panels are going to feel a similar
to complaints from U.S. manufacturers who said imported
goods were costing them sales, Trump slapped on tariffs
— 20 percent for the first 1.2 million imported
washers and then 50 percent for any other washers
imported in year one. The tariff on washers will be in
effect for three years, though the tariff percentage
will decline in subsequent years.
move could mean that consumers pay $50 to $90 more for
machines made by South Korean manufacturers such Samsung
and LG, although other foreign washer manufacturers such
as Electrolux and Miele will not escape the tariff.
cells, largely imported from China, are also being
slapped with a tariff — 30 percent in the first year.
Trump administration said the move is meant to return
manufacturing jobs to the U.S.
Harbor, Mich.,-based Whirlpool Corp., whose 2011
petition to the Commerce Department prompted Trump’s
action, said it added 200 full-time jobs at an Ohio
plant in anticipation of the tariffs.
called the tariffs "a win for American
manufacturing jobs" and said it expects the
industry to add new manufacturing jobs in Ohio,
Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.
its part, the solar-installing industry warns that up to
23,000 jobs could be lost.
decision, will "create a crisis in a part of our
economy that has been thriving, which will ultimately
cost tens of thousands of hard-working blue-collar
Americans their jobs," said Abigail Ross Hopper,
president and chief executive officer of the Solar
Energy Industries Association, in a statement. Hopper
expects the impact on solar investments to be billions
2016, there were 3,718 solar workers in Illinois and
260,077 in the U.S., according to the Washington,
D.C.-based Solar Foundation. Solar industry employment
has nearly tripled since the first National Solar Jobs
Census was released in 2010.
impact on consumers buying washing machines could be
short-term, and buyers may just get used to it.
like any other product, if they want an LG machine, they’ll
pay for it," said Jon Abt, co-president of Abt
Electronics, who said he expects consumers will see
prices increase by about $50.
Samsung’s $380 million manufacturing facility in
Newberry, S.C., and LG’s $250 million plant in
Clarksville, Tenn., are up and running, the impact will
be lessened, Abt said. Samsung has said it has already
hired 600 workers to staff the new facility.
Rogers, an analyst at New York-based research firm
Panjiva agreed. Rogers’ analysis shows that Samsung,
LG and other foreign producers have been aggressively
importing washers in the past year, so it might be a
while before consumers see prices go up because of stock
on hand. "LG and Samsung have a cushion on the
cheaper washing machines they can sell for the next few
months," he said.
no certainty that many jobs will be added if
manufacturers turn to the U.S. to produce washing
machines and solar cells, Panjiva’s Rogers said.
all, it’s not clear how foreign makers such as Samsung
and LG will operate their U.S. plants, he said. They
could make the parts in another country and then have
them assembled here in the U.S. "If they mostly use
oversees parts and assemble them using robots instead of
people, the employment impact could be minimal," he