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Samsung CEO expresses concerns about protectionism in post-COVID-19 era

Samsung CEO Kim Hyun-suk speaks during a meeting with reporters on Wednesday. (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung CEO Kim Hyun-suk speaks during a meeting with reporters on Wednesday. (Samsung Electronics)


Samsung Electronics’ consumer electronics CEO Kim Hyun-suk on Wednesday expressed concerns over trade protectionism in major countries following a downturn in the home appliance market after the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a brief meeting with local reporters, the head of Samsung’s consumer electronics said the company will undergo a more difficult situation in the fourth quarter of this year in the aftermath of the pandemic outbreak.

“The global economy, consumer sentiment and unemployment will affect the industry’s performance in the fourth quarter,” Kim said. “I have big concerns for the period.”

If the impact of COVID-19 prolongs, Samsung and other consumer electronics makers would not expect any pent-up consumption in the third quarter, Kim said.

“Before the COVID-19 outbreak, globalization was a big topic, but localization is now an issue and will be a big variable,” the executive said.

For export-driven businesses like Samsung, growing trends for protective trade would be a significant burden to deal with, Kim suggested.

“Ninety percent of Samsung’s sales rely on exports,” he said. “If protectionism gets stronger in major countries, they might demand building more factories there and raising tariffs.”

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com)

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