BENTON HARBOR, MICH. —
Whirlpool filed petitions
last week with the U.S. Commerce Department and International
Trade Commission (ITC) accusing LG and
Samsung of predatory pricing practices.
The antidumping and countervailing duty petitions,
which LG described as “outrageous,” claim the Korean
companies are selling bottom-mount refrigerators in the
U.S. at prices that are substantially below market value,
assisted by subsidies from the Korean government.
“When foreign producers compete in the U.S. market
using unfair trade practices, we have no choice but to
take action to defend the integrity of the global trading
system, our approximately 23,500 U.S. employees, the
U.S. refrigerator industry, and American consumers,”
said Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool North America.
“Dumping is an unfair trade practice used to drive
out competitors, which means consumers end up with
The antidumping petition requests an investigation
into the production of bottom-mount refrigerators,
which are manufactured by the two companies in Korea
The countervailing duty petition requests an investigation
into what Whirlpool describes as “substantial
unfair subsidies given by the Korean government to
Samsung and LG in the past few years,” which have
injured U.S.-based producers.
Whirlpool said the infractions constitute unfair trade
practices that violate U.S. laws and caused material
injury to the U.S. appliance manufacturing industry. It
also said the practices and their impact were confirmed
by “an extensive investigation.”
For its part, LG described the petitions as “outrageous”
“Average selling prices in the U.S. for LG-manufactured
multi-door refrigerators are consistently higher
than those built by Whirlpool,” LG said in a statement.
“In recent years, Korean manufacturers have led the
introduction of multi-door refrigerators that employ superior
technology, stylish designs and manufacturing
efficiencies. There has been no material injury to the
U.S. industry. Rather, this is an example of the inability
of a domestic manufacturer to keep up technologically.”
LG promised to cooperate fully with the Commerce
Dept. and ITC in its investigation.
Similarly, Samsung said in a statement that it “respects
the trade rules in the U.S. market, and is confident
that the Department of Commerce will confirm
that there has been no dumping or subsidization and
that the ITC will find that there has been no material
injury caused to U.S. producers. We will continue to
focus on responding to market demand and satisfying
our customers, especially in the refrigeration market in
The case is not be the first time Whirlpool and LG
have come to blows, with both manufacturers sharing
a long history of suits and counter-suits over patent infringements
and deceptive trade practices.