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Kyocera shifts China production to Vietnam to avoid Trump tariffs

Japanese manufacturer will move copier output by March

Kyocera plans to relocate production of U.S.-bound printers from China to this plant in Vietnam.

OSAKA -- Kyocera will relocate production of U.S.-bound copiers and multifunction printers to Vietnam from China, the Japanese manufacturer said Friday, in a move designed to avoid U.S. tariffs.

"We will switch production between Chinese facilities and Vietnamese facilities," Kyocera President Hideo Tanimoto told reporters. All-in-one printers made in China are mainly shipped to the U.S., while those built in Vietnam are usually destined for Europe.

The decision comes after months of consideration, and was announced after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to impose a fourth round of tariffs against China. Multifunction printers are included in the $300 billion worth of goods that will be hit with 10% duty increase on Sept. 1.

The relocation will be carried out in the current fiscal year through March 2020, but it will take time to readjust material procurement and other processes. The cost of the move could run into the billions of yen (1 billion yen equals $9.2 million).

Kyocera's document solutions business took in about 375 billion yen in revenue during the previous fiscal year, with approximately 20% coming from the U.S. When asked about the effect of the trade war on business, Tanimoto expressed deep concerns over the Chinese economy.

"The effect of China's economic slowdown will be bigger than that from the additional tariffs," he said. "If the fourth round of sanctions against China are implemented, the Chinese economy will be impacted."

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