Sun, Jan 01, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Whirlpool seeks duties on LG, Samsung’s washers

Bloomberg

Whirlpool Corp, the world’s largest maker of appliances, asked the US to impose duties on clothes-washer imports from rivals LG Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Co over alleged violations of 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 US jobs, Whirlpool said in complaints filed on Friday in Washington with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the US Department of Commerce. 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,” Whirlpool North America president Marc Bitzer said in a statement.

LG is reviewing the petition, LG 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.”

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

The US Department of Commerce 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 US$175 million to produce energy and -water-efficient appliances, according to the statement.

The ITC may issue a preliminary finding next month, while the US Department of Commerce may release a decision in May, Whirlpool said.

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