January 3, 2018 / 11:06 AM / a year ago

Samsung's U.S. washing machine factory to begin operations in Jan: exec

FILE PHOTO: Students walk out of a showroom at the headquarters of Samsung Electronics in Seoul October 28, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) plans to begin operating its new washing machine factory in the United States this month, a top executive said on Wednesday, as it awaits a U.S. government decision on curbing imports of washers.

The U.S. International Trade Commision recommended in November tariffs to keep Samsung and its home rival LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS) from flooding the U.S. market with inexpensive washers, a step that would benefit American appliance giant Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N).

Samsung said at the time that any tariffs would raise prices and impair job creation at its $380 million plant in South Carolina, which was announced in June to produce washing machines and other appliances.

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision on the recommendation early this year.

When asked about whether the plant will begin operations this month, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Yoon Boo-keun confirmed the plan to reporters on Wednesday. He did not elaborate.

The plant, Samsung’s first U.S. appliances factory in more than three decades, was among a long list of investment pledges by global companies reacting to pressure from Trump to create more U.S. jobs.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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