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Whirlpool Wants Tariffs for Chinese Washers

(CN) - Appliances maker Whirlpool wants the federal government to impose tariffs on imported Samsung and LG washing machines made in China, claiming they are priced too low.

Whirlpool Corp. filed an anti-dumping petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission, accusing its Korean rivals of circumventing federal orders.

Dumping refers to selling a product in the United States at a price that is lower than "the price for which it is sold in the home market," or the fair value, according to a government handbook.

In 2013, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed tariffs for Samsung and LG washers made in South Korea and Mexico, finding that they were sold too cheaply.

Whirlpool says the rival companies moved their washer production to China to avoid the regulations.

"During the course of [anti-dumping and countervailing duty] investigations, Samsung moved nearly all of its production of U.S. washer models to China, and LG similarly moved the vast majority of its production of U.S. washer models to China," the Dec. 16 petition states. "Simply put, Samsung and LG replaced their dumped and injurious washers from Korea and Mexico with dumped and injurious washers from China." (Emphasis in original.)

Whirlpool claims Samsung and LG did "an end-run around the U.S. trade remedy law."

"By any objective measure, the domestic industry has been 'materially injured by reason of' subject imports during the period of investigation. The culprits continue to be Samsung and LG," Whirlpool's petition states. "This time, they are dumping from their production platforms in China. Without relief from these dumped imports, the ability of domestic producers to justify their past investments in U.S. manufacturing and workers, and to plan future investments in American innovation, is very much in jeopardy."

Whirlpool President Marc Bitzer said in a statement that "Samsung and LG have blatantly ignored a previous U.S. government order by continuing to dump washers into the United States."

"At Whirlpool, we know that open, rules-based trade ensures the highest level of innovation and choice for consumers," Bitzer said. "Our ability to innovate, invest and continue to manufacture here in the U.S. is undermined when foreign competitors willfully defy U.S. government rulings."

A Samsung spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that the company was confident authorities would conclude it hadn't violated trade rules, while an LG spokesman said an investigation would "show that LG's washers have not been sold unfairly in the U.S. market."

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