Fanning said those factors made Element a unique case, worthy of a waiver.

Referring to McMaster and Mulvaney and their ties to Trump, Fanning said, “If we didn’t have that relationship, I don’t think we would have really been able to tell that story” to federal officials.

A spokesman for Mulvaney declined to comment on Fanning’s characterization of Mulvaney’s role in helping to obtain the waiver for Element.

A spokesman for McMaster did not respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

But in an email to the Greenville News, the spokesman said, “The governor has said from day one that we needed to exercise patience throughout this process and most of us have done that.”

“This is great news for Fairfield County, Element Electronics, and all of Team South Carolina that worked hard to make sure the facts were known and that Element’s case was made to the administration,” the spokesman wrote.

The press office of the United States Trade Representative said, in a prepared statement to CNBC, that “USTR declines to discuss specific product removals or additions” from the list of products subject to tariffs.

“USTR career officials and the interagency Section 301 Committee carefully review all public comments received during public notice and comment periods and testimony delivered at public hearings,” the press office said. “Based on this transparent, robust and comprehensive review process, modifications to the proposed tariff list are made, taking into account the likely impact on U.S. consumers and the U.S. economy.”

— CNBC’s
Kate Rogers
contributed to this report.



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