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Koreans 1, Whirlpool 0

In a preliminary ruling, the U.S. Commerce Department has nixed Whirlpool’s petition to have import duties imposed on bottom-mount refrigerators from South Korean manufacturers.

The world’s largest majap maker argued that substantial subsidies from the Korean government to LG and Samsung amount to unfair competition, but Commerce found that the rates, which are under 1 percent, fail to trigger duties under U.S. law. A Whirlpool spokeswoman said the company “is not surprised by this preliminary decision, given the Korean producers’ bold resistance to providing adequate responses to the Commerce Department’s questionnaires.” A final determination is expected early next year.