Despite Whirlpool’s status as No. 1 global majap maker, the U.S. manufacturer is continuing to escalate its battle with competitors LG and Samsung over their ability to evade anti-dumping laws by shifting production from country to country.
The vendor has twice won rulings against Samsung and LG for predatory washer pricing, but said its victories were fleeting, as any punitive sanctions were limited to products produced in specific countries.
Samsung and LG merely moved their sourcing to China, and more recently Thailand and Vietnam, to circumvent U.S. trade laws, Whirlpool said. So the company filed a safeguard petition that would allow the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to address any residential imports that cause injury to U.S. washer manufacturers, regardless of country of origin.
In announcing the filing, Whirlpool said its laundry business has faltered as a result of below-market pricing by its Korean competitors.
“This filing addresses unprecedented behavior by two serial violators of U.S. trade laws,” said Whirlpool chairman/CEO Jeff Fettig. “If not for this unlawful behavior, we believe our washer category would have thrived like the rest of our North American business.”
LG said it “strongly disagrees” that its washers are causing material injury and promised to vigorously defend the case. In a statement released to TWICE, the company stated that “In light of their apparent inability to compete with leading global brands like LG in the U.S. market, Whirlpool has decided to seek government restrictions to limit consumer choices.”
LG may ultimately put the issue to rest in 2019 after its first U.S.-made washers roll off a new Tennessee production line. Samsung is rumored to be planning its own U.S. majap factory.