Whirlpool celebrates ruling against foreign competitors

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON HARBOR — Whirlpool Corp. is celebrating a second, and what appears to be final, anti-dumping ruling made in its favor.

On Tuesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that LG and Samsung caused injury to the U.S. appliance industry by selling China-produced washing machines in the U.S. for less than they cost to make.

The Benton Harbor-based company initially filed its complaint with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the ITC in December 2015 in an attempt to keep Samsung and LG from dumping residential washers.

Dumping is in reference to the making, exporting and selling of goods at a loss in order to boost market share and potentially drive out competitors.

After Whirlpool filed its complaint against the two foreign competitors, the DOC made its preliminary ruling in favor of Whirlpool in July.

Jeff Fettig, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool, said in a news release Tuesday that the ruling was a win for American manufacturers, especially for those who work at Whirlpool’s factory in Clyde, Ohio. The Ohio factory is known for its production of clothes washers.

“The government made the right decision today, affirming that Samsung and LG’s long-term pattern of serial dumping injures American appliance manufacturers and threatens U.S. jobs,” Fettig said in the release. “By enforcing and applying trade remedies that help ensure fair competition, the government supports a solid U.S. manufacturing base and continued investments in innovation that improve the lives of consumers.”

South Korea-based Samsung and China’s LG have continued to deny they are dumping washers.

However, because of the ruling, Samsung and LG must pay anti-dumping duties at the rates set by the DOC – margins of 52.51 percent for Samsung and 32.12 percent for LG.

A ‘dumping’ pattern

The federal government in 2012 imposed 9 percent and 13 percent tariffs on LG and Samsung Korean- and Mexican-made washers after Whirlpool filed a dumping complaint.

In 2013, the U.S. government found LG and Samsung were dumping large residential clothes washers exported to the U.S. from production factories in South Korea and Mexico.

Following that ruling, Samsung and LG moved their washer production for the U.S. to China, skirting the order in an effort to continue to dump prices abroad.

According to the DOC’s report on the ruling, imports of washing machines from China were valued at an estimated $899.4 million in 2014.

While Whirlpool employs nearly 100,000 around the world, the company has more than 20,000 employees in the Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Anhui provinces.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 12, 2017)

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