Element Electronics Set To Start Mass Lay Offs Because Of Trump Tariffs
Element Electronics is a company in South Carolina that assembles televisions for sale using electronic parts imported from China that currently being hit hard by the tariffs the Trump imposed on imported Chinese products. As a direct result of the tariffs, they will be laying off almost all of their 126 employees leaving a skeleton crew of just 8 people by the of the year. They will also be closing their plant in Winnsboro, South Carolina.
Element Electronics announced via twitter that they are working to have the parts removed from the tariff list, and hopes they can avoid closing the plant. In the announcement, they also said they could likely reopen the plant in three to six months pending the decision of the Trump administration to approve their specific parts being removed from the tariff list. That decision remains unknown with the office of the US Trade Representative, which handles requests for exemptions to the China tariffs, currently refusing comment.
In July 2018, the Trump administration imposed a 25% tariff on $34 worth of goods imported from China. They will be imposing the tariff on an additional $16 billion on August 23, 2018. The Trump tariffs have been largely met with opposition within the republican party that is traditionally pro free market and opposed to protectionist economic policy that has historically fueled trade wars that in the end neither party benefits from.
This past June, 2018, Republicans seemed to have finally reached their breaking point with President Trump on trade policy. A group of republican senators are since supporting Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-Tenn.) legislation that would give Congress the power to to block Trump’s tariffs. Trump in response is actively trying to kill the legislation before it reaches the Senate floor. Another group of legislators is taking a softer approach, holding private meetings with Trump with the hope that they can convince him via back-channel negotiation to step back from brewing trade wars with China and U.S. allies before Congress is forced to step in. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the limitless GOP funding apparatus, Koch Industries, also oppose the tariffs and support Corker’s legislation.
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