A U.S. factory is ceasing production because of Donald Trump’s tariffs. Element Electronics is thought to be the first U.S. company to publicly declare it’ll all but shut down because of the trade war with China.
And it’s happened in a state that backed Trump strongly as president.
CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.
In October, Element Electronics plans to all but close, laying off 126 employees and maintaining just a skeleton crew.
It can’t afford to assemble television at this site because Donald Trump’s tariffs have made imported Chinese components too expensive.
At the factory on the outskirts of this community of just over 3,000 employees were told to stay tight-lipped.
But the Chamber of Commerce was stunned by the decision.
“We knew the tariffs were in place. We had no idea Winnsboro South Carolina was going to feel the detrimental impact. So it’s a big shock,” company President Terry Vickers said.
While U.S. unemployment is at record lows, in this region, it’s nearly double the national average.
Winnsboro has suffered some big economic blows in recent years.
An historic textile mill operated for more than 100 years before it closed last year, with the loss of 284 jobs.
And that was after Wal-Mart, another large employer, pulled out.
The trade conflict between the U.S and China is hitting the bottom line elsewhere in South Carolina.
China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports include BMWs built in Spartanburg.
Element is trying to persuade the Trump administration to waive tariffs so it can maintain operations, though it’s easy to find support for the President’s combative trade policy.
“It is like any change. There is going to be pain to begin with, but in the long run we are going to see stabilization and it’s going to be good for American business,” Vickerssaid said.
But it’s these workers don’t have the time or money to stake their immediate futures on the outcome of an escalating trade war.