TV panel supply at risk from China/US trade spat

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The two largest economies in the world, the US and China, are trading insults and levying tariff barriers. The US is proposing a 25 per cent import levy on a wide number of China-built products.

A major report from Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), and examined in detail in Large Display Monitor (LDM) says that last year the US imported some 18.8 million Chinese-made sets valued $3.9 billion, and treated under import code ‘852884950’ rules as TV displays. These tariff terms do not apply to computers, smartphones or monitors.

LDM says “Most of these fell into the category as having a recording device, meaning a duty rate of 3.9 per cent (the customs classification includes TVs with USB recording facilities).  Most TVs imported to the US come from Mexico and have no duty and the total imports, DSCC said, are 41.3 million with just over 10 per cent without recording [ability].”

DSCC says the brands likely to be hardest hit in any trade/tariff war would be Vizeo and Hisense (although Hisense also has manufacturing capacity in Mexico).

LDM warns that while, for the moment, the list of import codes that would be subject to tariffs includes only those sets that can record, so a short term solution for importers would be to take out the USB port.

LDM also reminds readers that the EU has a 14 per cent tariff on TV sets, which is why many sets are assembled in Europe, and Turkey. “If the US action goes ahead, we might well expect even more manufacture in the US or, more likely, in Mexico. An exception might be Foxconn which has started a project to build a [fabrication plant] in Wisconsin, US and is likely to make TVs there, even before the LCD fab [line] is complete.


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