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
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.”
LG and Samsung still face a separate
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 triggered by Whirlpool, to continue
through February 2013.