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2018-08-08 — chicagotribune.com

President Donald Trump's tariffs against China are causing a South Carolina television maker to lay off nearly all of its employees because of the sudden increase in the price of components for its products.

Element TV Company will let 126 workers go, most of them on Oct. 5, leaving behind a skeleton crew of eight employees to watch the Fairfield County plant in hopes it can reopen in three to six months, the company said in a letter to state employment officials Monday.

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The Element plant opened to huge fanfare about five years ago. Trump's current U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, was South Carolina governor at the time. In August 2014, she did a live video feed from the plant beamed to a Walmart manufacturing summit, where she spoke about how to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. by selling her state.

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Tariffs could lead to more job losses in the state, especially in the auto industry. Swedish carmaker Volvo has said tariffs could prevent it from reaching its goal of 4,000 workers by 2021 at its just opened plant near Charleston. BMW has warned Trump administration officials that some if not many of its 10,000 workers at its plant near Spartanburg could have their jobs at risk if tariffs continue.

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