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Mick Mulvaney lobbies for Trump tariff exemption for South Carolina TV maker

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President Donald Trump and Mick Mulvaney
President Donald Trump and
Mick Mulvaney

Jonathan
Ernst/Reuters



  • President Donald Trump’s recent tariffs on Chinese
    goods led to layoffs at a TV manufacturing plant in South
    Carolina.
  • Element Electronics said the increased cost of parts
    used in their TVs forced them to lay off 126 workers at their
    Winnsboro, South Carolina, plant.
  • Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney,
    a former South Carolina congressman, is advocating for Element
    to receive an exemption from the tariffs.
  • Any company can apply for an exemption if the firm can
    prove that there is no American source for the parts needed to
    produce their product.

Even members of President Donald Trump’s own administration are
trying to find workarounds to avoid the worst parts of the
burgeoning trade
war with China
.

According to
a report from McClatchy
, Office of Management and Budget
Director Mick Mulvaney is pushing for an exemption to the tariffs
on Chinese goods for a TV manufacturer in his home state of South
Carolina.

Element Electronics, a TV manufacturer with a plant
in Winnsboro, South Carolina, announced August 6 that

the company would lay off
126 workers in its plant.

The company said the reason for the layoffs was Trump’s
recent tariffs on Chinese products. Element said many of those
goods now subject to tariffs are used as components in the TVs
assembled in South Carolina.

“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,”
Element said
.

State Sen. Mike Fanning, who represents the district where
Element is located,
told McClatchy
that Mulvaney is lobbying within the
administration to get Element an exclusion to the China
tariffs.

“I know that he is actively pleading on our behalf, because
people we’ve talked to in DC, they say, ‘Yes, yes, yes, we’ve
already heard this from Mick Mulvaney’,” Fanning said.

Rep. Ralph Norman, who took over Mulvaney’s seat in
Congress after his appointment to the Trump administration, also
told McClatchy that Mulvaney was “trying to get exclusions well
ahead of the announcement.”


Any US firm can appeal
to the US Trade Representative’s
office for an exclusion if the company can show there is undue
burden in finding an alternative source for their parts.
Thousands of companies have
requested exemptions from Trump’s various tariffs
over the
past few months.


Economists have warned
that the
tariffs’ focus
on intermediate parts would eventually hurt
the US manufacturers that use those parts in their final
products. The increased cost from the tariffs would force
companies to cut costs in other areas, like labor, or move
production in order to avoid the tariffs.

Element also has a second Trump administration connection. The
company actually enticed to South Carolina by then-Gov. Nikki
Haley, who now serves at UN Ambassador for the Trump
administration.

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