The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary determination last month that Electrolux, LG Electronics (LGE), Samsung and Mexican OEM Mabe, a GE supplier, sold bottom-mount refrigerators here at dumped prices.
According to the preliminary finding, the majaps’ were sold in the U.S at wholesale prices that were lower than those in Mexico and Korea, where the products were produced.
The Commerce Department’s investigation was prompted by an antidumping petition filed by Whirlpool last March.
A final determination is expected in March 2012 pending an audit and further investigation. Depending on the outcome, the manufacturers could be forced to pay import duties on Mexican- and Koreanmade bottom-mount models which would raise their retail prices, and will presently be required to post bonds as security for future duty payments if the wholesale prices are not raised to fair value.
In a statement, LGE said it will “aggressively contest” the Commerce Department’s allegations and methodologies, which it claims are erroneous and violate World Trade Organization standards. “We are confident that LGE will prevail in the final determination, which will demonstrate that bottom-mount refrigerators have not been dumped in the United States,” said LG Electronics USA president/CEO Wayne Park.
A Samsung spokesperson said the company is disappointed by the preliminary findings, which were based on “adverse assumptions” in the Commerce Department’s calculations. The manufacturer will resubmit its data in a more suitable form, and is confident that it will be found to be in compliance with U.S. trade laws once the full investigation is concluded.
“We expect our business to continue to thrive due to our delivery of an excellent product experience to consumers,” the representative said.
Electrolux told TWICE it does not comment on ongoing investigations as a matter of policy.
The Commerce Department will also issue a final determination in March regarding Whirlpool’s claim that LGE enjoyed illegal subsidies from Korea on its bottom-mount refrigerators. The agency made a preliminary determination in August that any governmental benefit LGE may have obtained was negligible.
Separately, a U.S. district court in Chicago last week ordered LG to pay a “substantial” portion of Whirlpool’s court costs in a lawsuit brought by LG over what it described as misleading claims in Whirlpool’s steam dryer advertising.