Bloomberg News

Whirlpool Seeks Duties on LG, Samsung Clothes-Washer Imports

January 09, 2012

(Updates with LG comment in fourth paragraph.)

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Whirlpool Corp., the world’s largest maker of appliances, asked the U.S. to impose duties on clothes- washer imports from rivals LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. for violating international trade laws.

LG and Samsung sell residential washers made in Mexico and South Korea for less than the products’ fair value, undermining competition and threatening U.S. jobs, Whirlpool said in complaints filed today in Washington with the International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department. Whirlpool also sought countervailing duties against imports from South Korea, saying that country’s government provides unfair subsidies.

“It is important for an open global trading system to have a process for enforcement to maintain the integrity of the system and provide all manufacturers a level playing field on which to compete,” Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool North America, said in a statement.

LG is reviewing the petition, spokesman John Taylor said in an e-mail.

“LG strongly rejects any suggestion that it has sold clothes washers at dumped prices or that it has been unfairly subsidized,” Taylor said. “LG intends to vigorously defend itself against these baseless claims.”

Ethan Rasiel, a Samsung spokesman, said in an e-mail that he declined to comment.

Refrigerator Complaint

The Commerce Department responded in October to a separate Whirlpool complaint, finding that LG and Samsung dumped bottom- mount refrigerators at low cost. Samsung of Suwon, South Korea, faces a tariff of 36.65 percent for refrigerators produced in Mexico and 32.2 percent for those from South Korea based on the preliminary findings, the department said. LG of Seoul will pay 16.44 percent for products made in Mexico and 4.09 percent on South Korea units.

Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, employs 3,500 workers at its factory in Clyde, Ohio, between Toledo and Cleveland, where the washers are made. The company has invested $175 million to produce energy- and water-efficient appliances, according to the statement.

The ITC may issue a preliminary finding in February, while the Commerce Department may release a decision in May, Whirlpool said.

--Editors: Judy Pasternak, Larry Liebert

-0- Dec/30/2011 19:19 GMT

To contact the reporter on this story: William McQuillen in Washington at bmcquillen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net


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