For full transparency, I’m not a fan of tariffs. I know that in the end it’s not the target countries or their companies but rather the American consumers who pay for these tariffs in the form of higher prices. It’s also American countries who rely on imports to thrive that get hurt. An example of the latter is Element Electronics, the last US assembler of televisions.
— Element Electronics (@ElementTVs) August 7, 2018
According to The Hill, layoffs are planned to start in October.
Element said “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,” in a letter to the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce obtained by the local paper.
The company said in the letter that it hopes the closure will be temporary and added that it could reopen the plant in “three to six months, but we cannot predict this with any certainty at this time.”
This puts the administration in a pickle. Perhaps it’s better to look at it as a catch-22. They could exclude the parts needed by Element from the tariff list and save the jobs. Doing so could signal to other US companies affected by the tariffs to threaten closures and layoffs in hopes the White House will also exclude the parts and materials they import.
If the President sticks to his guns, he will gain the benefits associated with tariffs such as expanded use of domestic materials and the potential for jobs to be created in America. Of course, he’ll also have to face media backlash for every negative effect of the tariffs, including Element Electronics’ challenge.