Feb. 4 (UPI) — Samsung Electronics is negotiating with several U.S. states to open a new manufacturing facility, Yonhap news agency reported Friday.
The report comes a day after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, “Thank you, @Samsung! We would love to have you!” while providing a link to a story about the company’s plans to build a U.S. factory.
Sources in South Korea’s electronics industry told Yonhap Samsung is looking for a new base where it can build household appliances, including refrigerators and washing machines.
States where the $200 billion company is considering operations include Alabama and South Carolina.
Locations are being reviewed for the investment incentives they provide, according to the report.
Once a location is determined, operations could begin as early as 2018, sources say.
One Samsung source who spoke anonymously said the firm is at the early stages of exploring a U.S. presence.
South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai already operates a plant in Alabama, and South Carolina is a production base for BMW and General Electric.
But Samsung may also be operating under pressure, after Trump announced plans to renegotiate NAFTA and proposed a 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports, according to South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo.
The electronics giant produces televisions, washing machines and refrigerators at factories in Tijuana and Querétaro, Mexico, and then delivers the goods to U.S. consumers without tariffs.
South Korean companies that operate globally were concerned during the presidential campaign, when Trump suggested firms like Samsung are one of several reasons for the U.S. trade deficit.
“We spend a fortune on defending South Korea. Now I order thousands and thousands of television sets here, they come from South Korea. They make so much. They’re making a fortune,” Trump said during an MSNBC Town Hall in March 2016.