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Samsonite production may return to US after 16 years

Newly installed U.S. President Donald Trump has been encouraging companies across the world to build factories stateside in an attempt to increase American jobs. Samsonite, the world's largest travel luggage firm, may be one of them.

The Hong Kong-based firm was founded in Denver, Colorado but shuttered its manufacturing plant there back in 2001 due to profitability reasons. But the brand could soon return to its roots, global CEO Ramesh Tainwala told CNBC on Wednesday.

"We get guided by where the bulk of our business is being done. Today, with 40 percent of our sales happening in the U.S., we would not hesitate to look at the possibility of manufacturing in the U.S.," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Samsonite, which acquired rival Tumi Holdings for roughly $1.8 billion last year, makes the bulk of its suitcases in Europe and India; it also regularly outsources production to China and Vietnam.

PHILIPPE LOPEZ | AFP | Getty Images

Tainwala's comments come amid renewed focus on America's manufacturing sector.

Trump has indicated support for companies returning to the world's largest economy and adopted a tougher stance on firms shifting production overseas. House Republicans are also debating a new policy known as the border adjustment tax that would place a levy on goods made abroad and sold domestically.

But Samsonite's willingness to explore production in the U.S. isn't because of Trump or the tax, Tainwala insisted.

The firm conducted a study "well before Trump" that revealed the economic benefits of manufacturing in markets closer to consumption centers, he explained.

Luggage players such as Samsonite already pay an 18 percent tax on their goods in the U.S., Tainwala added.

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