Samsung North America CEO Says President Trump’s “Tariffs Equal Taxes”

Things are looking up for Samsung Electronics (SSNLF). Record profits. Surging sales. Computer chips in high demand. And its new Galaxy S9 mobile phone is a hit with consumers.

There’s only one problem. Samsung washing machines are among the many products that have been slapped with hefty tariffs by the Trump Administration. That’s bad news for the South Korean company that just spent nearly $400 million on a new appliance factory in South Carolina and hired more than 650 people to make washing machines.

Tim Baxter, CEO of Samsung’s North American operations tells Fortune, the tariffs are “not a good thing” for consumers.

“Our view has been and continues to be that tariffs equal taxes and they get passed along to consumers,” says Baxter. “So we don’t think that’s a good thing.”

Samsung, which is the most popular washing machine maker in the U.S., has already raised prices by as much as $100 on some models.

Even though there are heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners, Baxter says Samsung is still going “full steam ahead” with its expansion plans in South Carolina including adding 1,000 more jobs by 2020.

Baxter adds that Samsung has a 40-year history of doing business in the U.S. and 20,000 employees working for the South Korean company’s American operations. His hope is that a trade war will be averted because the “consequences are significant.” And perhaps that’s why Baxter says Samsung will “continue to invest” in the U.S.

Watch the video above for more of our interview with Baxter.




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