SEOUL: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has agreed to open a $380 million home appliance manufacturing plant in the United States, in South Carolina, it said on Wednesday.
The South Korean firm had launched talks to build a factory in the United States as worries about protectionist policies under US President Donald Trump put pressure on global companies to generate jobs there.
Asia’s biggest company by market capitalisation said in a statement that the new plant in Newberry County, South Carolina, is expected to generate 954 local jobs by 2020.
The announcement was made a day ahead of Trump’s hosting of South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House. In February, when news of a potential US Samsung appliance plant first emerged, Trump tweeted: “Thank you, @samsung! We would love to have you!”
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement on Wednesday that the plant would produce washing machines and other products starting early next year, adding that the investment is “great news for South Carolina and the United States.”
The investment announcement comes less than a month after US appliance rival Whirlpool Corp asked a government trade panel for stronger protections against imported washing machines made by Samsung and LG Electronics, arguing that the South Korean firms have skirted Commerce Department anti-dumping orders for years by shifting production to various countries.
Whirlpool’s “global safeguard” petition is under consideration by the International Trade Commission, an independent government trade panel. An injury decision on the petition is expected in September.
It was not immediately clear how much of Samsung’s US washing machine sales would be supplied by the new plant.
LG Electronics in March announced plans to build a $250 million home appliance factory in Tennessee employing 600 workers.
In a statement, Samsung Electronics Chief Executive B.K. Yoon said the investment would allow Samsung to “increase the speed with which we can deliver premium home appliances that reflect the regional preferences of our fastest-growing and most important consumer market.