COLUMBIA — A South Carolina-based television manufacturer that was set to shutter next month can now remain open after the Trump administration took the parts they import from China off a list of proposed tariffs.
Element Electronics, which has an assembly plant in Winnsboro, was prepared to lay off 126 workers on Oct. 5, citing the impact of a tariff proposal that would raise the company's costs.
Gov. Henry McMaster's spokesman Brian Symmes confirmed the reductions will no longer be necessary thanks to the U.S. Department of Commerce's updated tariff list excluding the TV parts.
"The governor has said from day one that we need to be patient throughout this process as the administration works through these tariffs," Symmes said.
"This is the effect and the result of the congressional delegation, the governor, local officials and Element Electronics making their case to the administration and being patient," Symmes added. "The facts were on our side. Now Winnsboro and Element and Fairfield County are going to reap the benefits of that."
State Sen. Mike Fanning, D-Fairfield, thanked McMaster and Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney, who used to represent Element's district in Congress, for advocating on their behalf.
The initial Element announcement was set to add to a series of devastating economic setbacks that Fairfield County has suffered in recent years — most prominently the cancellation of two nuclear reactors last summer.
Now, at least one of those setbacks can be wiped off the list.
"This is the biggest news in Fairfield County in years and it was as needed as any county could possibly need," Fanning said. "I'm excited."
Element Electronics did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company could now actually even receive a windfall from the latest tariffs because it is one of the only TV assemblers based in the U.S. and could benefit from higher prices on foreign products. Fanning said he hopes the new list will allow Element to expand their operations.