No Import Duties For Foreign Fridges

By Alan Wolf On Apr 23 2012 - 4:01am




WASHINGTON – Four offshore majap makers dodged a very large bullet today after the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) unanimously ruled in their favor in a year-long anti-dumping case initiated by Whirlpool.

The manufacturers -- Frigidaire, LG, Samsung and GE’s Mexican OEM partner Mabe -- had faced possible double-digit duties on their imported bottom-mount refrigerators after the U.S. Commerce Department determined last month that the Korean products are subsidized and that all are sold in the U.S. at below-market prices.

But the final decision rested with the ITC, an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency, which found in a 5-0 vote that the fridges have not harmed the U.S. majap industry.

“The United States International Trade Commission today determined that a U.S. industry is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of bottom mount refrigerator-freezers from Korea that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined are subsidized and from Korea and Mexico that Commerce has determined are sold in the United States at less than fair value,” the agency said in statement.

Whirlpool, which filed the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy petitions in March 2011, said it plans to review the ITC’s final decision and will determine whether or not to appeal.

“Of course we’re extremely disappointed by today’s ruling and the implications it has for our U.S. production of bottom-mount refrigerators,” said Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool North America. “We believe the facts clearly demonstrated that dumped imports of bottom-mount refrigerators from South Korea and Mexico are causing injury to the U.S. industry.”

In a statement, LG Electronics USA home appliance president Chris Jung called the investigation “baseless,” and said his company “respects fair trade and the rules of international trade and is gratified that its selling practices were found to be in accordance with these rules.”

Samsung similarly issued a statement stating that “Whirlpool’s action in bringing this case simply resulted in a lengthy investigation that has been costly to the U.S. taxpayer, the result of which has been to prove that Samsung is in compliance with U.S. trade law.”

And an Electrolux spokesperson noted that the manufacturer is “very pleased” with the ITC’s unanimous decision and remains “committed to delivering bottom-mount refrigerators in the United States.”

LG and Samsung still face a separate anti- dumping investigation by the ITC regarding certain large-capacity washers imported from Korea and Mexico. The agency said in February that it found preliminary evidence of predatory pricing and expects the inquiry, also brought by Whirlpool, to continue through February 2013.

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