Ricoh Shifting Production to Thailand in Response to U.S.-China Trade War

With U.S. President Trump last week raising tariffs on some $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent – and issuing a threat to impose tariffs on an additional $300 bill worth of Chinese goods – Ricoh Company of Japan announced today that it’s shifting  production of its key MFP portfolio destined for the U.S. market to Thailand, in order to “hedge any risk associated with the US-China trade issue.”

Ricoh currently exports printers and MFPs made in Shanghai and Shenzhen in China to the United States.

The firm says it’s been strengthening its Business Continuity Plan as a part of its global production strategy and is engaging in parallel manufacturing of its key products at several production sites across the world. By doing so, it says it now has many common parts and has further optimized its supply-chain management.

Ricoh will shift production in about two months from now, and says there will be no “big changes to overall production volumes in either China or Thailand.”

The company says it made this decision in response to the announcement of List 4 of Section 301 Tariffs by the U.S. government. List 4 contains hundreds of Chinese items that U.S. President Trump has threatened to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on, including:

“Multifunctional units (machines which perform two or more of the functions of printing, copying or facsimile transmission,” as well as single-function printers, fax machines, fax machines, and parts and accessories for print, copy, and fax machines.

By shifting production from China to Thailand, Ricoh is trying to minimize the impact of this sanction.

Currently, Ricoh Asia Industry (Shenzhen) is producing the higher-speed models of its key MFP portfolio, whereas Ricoh Manufacturing (Thailand) is producing the lower-to-mid-speed models. By shifting the Chinese production to Thailand, all key MFP products will be shipped to the United States from the Thai factory.

Moving forward, Ricoh says it will continue to investigate the possible shift of other products and related parts and supplies, with a view to further optimizing its supply-chain system. This may further include a shift from Thailand to China in response to possible business risks, and to achieve even greater efficiencies.

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