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Offshore Majap Suppliers Facing Steep Import Tariffs

WASHINGTON — Offshore majap makers are one step closer to paying stiff import duties on washing machines following a final anti-dumping ruling last month by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC).

The agency confirmed its preliminary findings that Korean- and Mexicanmade washers by Daewoo, Electrolux, LG and Samsung are being sold in this country below fair value. Whirlpool, which initiated the anti-dumping investigation in December 2011, was also found culpable, but has since moved its washer production from Mexico to Ohio.

The companies must continue to post cash deposits on their imported washers to cover estimated anti-dumping duties, as they have since July, pending a final decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) this month.

If the ITC agrees that the imported washers materially injure or threaten the U.S. majap industry, the duties will become permanent. Industry observers say the impact could be greatest on Electrolux, which does much of is laundry production in Mexico, and would be lesser for LG and Samsung, which produce many of their laundry products in China.

Revised dumping margins include:

• Daewoo: 82.4 percent on Koreanmade washers;

• Electrolux: 36.5 percent on Mexican- made washers;

• LG: 13 percent on Korean washers; and

• Samsung: 9.3 percent on Korean washers and 72.4 percent on Mexicanmade washers.

The steep tariffs on Daewoo’s Korean and Samsung’s Mexican imports were based on their failure to cooperate in the investigation, the DOC said.

In a separate case, also brought by Whirlpool, the DOC ruled that Korean-made washers by Daewoo and Samsung are unlawfully subsidized by that country’s government, and imposed additional countervailing duty margins on the manufacturers of 72.3 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. LG was cleared in that investigation.

In a statement, Whirlpool’s North America president Marc Bitzer said the DOC decisions level the playing field and represent an important victory for the company’s employees, its customers and the U.S. appliance industry.

“We are confident that Whirlpool will continue to produce leading innovative products demonstrating the vitality of American manufacturing,” he said.

Wayne Park, CEO of LG Electronics USA, said the DOC’s decision will harm U.S. retailers and consumers by artificially raising prices on some of the country’s most popular washing machines. He said the company is committed to full compliance with U.S. trade laws and will continue to contest the dumping margin before the ITC.

Samsung, in a statement issued to TWICE, said, “We are confident that the U.S. International Trade Commission will finally determine that there is no material injury to the domestic industry. [The] decision will not impact Samsung’s ability to continue to deliver products that meet the highest standards in design, performance and quality. Samsung has a long-term commitment to our home appliance business in the United States.”

According to the DOC, some $434 million in Mexican-made washers and $569 million in Korean-made washers were imported into the U.S. in 2011.

Last March the ITC dismissed DOC findings, also brought by Whirlpool, that Electrolux, LG, Samsung and GE’s Mexican partner dumped bottom-mount refrigerators in the U.S. The ITC is expected to cast the final washer decision on Jan. 18.