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US grants Whirlpool request to impose duties on washing machines from South Korea, Mexico

Samsung and LG accused of dumping imported machines, illegal under US trade law.


July 31, 2012
by The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON: The US Commerce Department has granted a request from Whirlpool Inc. to impose tariffs on washing machines imported from South Korea and Mexico.

The department said Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. imported machines from Korea and Mexico at prices below fair market value, a practice known as dumping. Dumping is illegal under US trade law and companies can seek duties to counteract it.

The department also says it will impose duties on washing machines from South Korea made by Daewoo Electronics Corp. and from Mexico by Electrolux, which is based in Sweden.

The tariffs range from 9.6% to 72.4%.

The decision is preliminary and won’t become final until late January, after further investigation by Commerce and the US International Trade Commission, an independent agency.

LG Electronics said it would “aggressively contest” the department’s conclusions before a final decision is reached.

The tariffs will be imposed on about $434 million of imports from Mexico and $569 million from South Korea, based on 2011 data, the department said.

Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., is the world’s biggest appliance maker. It has filed several complaints against imports from Korea and Mexico, after recently locating more of its own production in the US. In April, it lost a case that accused Samsung and LG of dumping refrigerators.

In the washing machine case, the department said that it has also imposed tariffs on Whirlpool’s imports from Mexico.

Whirlpool said in a statement that it no longer imports washers from Mexico. The company instead makes clothes washers at a plant in Clyde, Ohio, where it says it has made “significant investments” and employs 3,500 workers.

“Whirlpool is committed to building products in the regions where they are sold and investing in our US manufacturing presence,” said Kristine Vernier, a Whirlpool spokesperson.

The company says that nearly all the washers it sells in the US will be made domestically by 2013.

©The Canadian Press