WASHINGTON -- US President Donald Trump said Monday that South Korean home appliance makers Samsung and LG are building plants in the United States to avoid tariffs he imposed on imports, claiming credit for creating jobs and protecting American workers.
"South Korea and China, they're dumping washing machines. They make washing machines, they dump them into our market, they put everybody out of business, then they charge a lot of money when everyone's gone," Trump said in a campaign rally, titled "Fighting for the American Worker."
The US began imposing 50 percent import tariffs on most imported washing machines as an industry safeguard in early 2018.
"I put the tariff, and now what they're doing is LG and Samsung and these companies that made the washing machines, they're now coming into the United States, and in order to avoid the tariff, they're building plants in the United States, and that's OK," Trump told the rally in Dayton, Ohio.
Both Samsung and LG strongly deny dumping allegations raised by the US but have still built washing machine plants there.
Samsung opened its washing machine plant in South Carolina in early 2018, followed by LG's plant in Tennessee later that year.
"I want to ensure American workers that we're putting America first and our jobs are put first our country is put first, our manufacturing is put first. Everything is now put first for the USA," Trump said.
The US president also revisited the Korea-US free trade agreement, which he has frequently used to attack his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
"He (Biden) supported the horrendous Korean deal. OK, how about the South Korea deal? It's a disaster," Trump said in his latest campaign rally, titled "Fighting for the American Worker."
Trump repeated his claim that all 250,000 new jobs the Korea-US free trade agreement (FTA) was supposed to create had gone to South Korea.
"That was a rip-off, I tell you," he said.
South Korea and the US renegotiated their bilateral FTA in 2018 at the Trump administration's request.
Under the revised deal, which went into effect at the start of last year, South Korea doubled to 50,000 the number of US vehicles allowed to enter its market each year without having to meet its local industry regulations.
The US, on the other hand, was given a 20-year extension until 2041 on its 25 percent import tariffs imposed on South Korean pickup trucks.
"Anyway, we renegotiated the deal, and it's entirely now it's a good deal," said Trump. (Yonhap)