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Korean Washers Subject To Interim Import Duties


Daewoo and Samsung will be required
to post cash deposits on imported clothes washers while
the federal government considers whether to impose permanent
duties on the products, the U.S. Commerce Department

The deposits will cover estimated duties while the agency
and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) determine
whether manufacturer subsidies from the South
Korean government harm the U.S. appliance industry.

The Commerce Department issued
a preliminary finding yesterday
showing that South Korea provides
countervailable subsidies to
Daewoo, LG and Samsung of 70.6
percent, 0.22 percent and 1.2 percent,

LG is not required to post cash
deposits on its imported washers
due to the negligible net subsidy
rate, the Commerce Department

Whirlpool initiated the investigation
by filing an anti-subsidy petition
with the federal agencies in
December. The case, which covers
full-size front- and top-load
washers and certain subassemblies
from Korea and Mexico, could
have a profound impact on Korea’s
U.S. washer exports, which totaled
about $568.5 million last year.

The Commerce Department is
scheduled to make a final determination
on the subsidies in August. If
the initial findings are confirmed, the
case will move on to the ITC, which
is scheduled to make its final injury determinations in September.
An affirmative finding of material injury or even the
threat of material injury to the U.S. majap industry would
lead to the imposition of countervailing duties (CVD). No
CVD order will be issued, and the cash deposits returned,
if the ITC finding is negative.

In a statement, Whirlpool said it is “pleased with this favorable
preliminary decision, given the proven record that
South Korean appliance producers have benefitted from
their government’s subsidies that violate trade law. We
look forward to participating fully in the thorough investigation
by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and we are
optimistic that the final determination will further validate
that these subsidies undermine competition and cause
material harm to the U.S. appliance industry.”

For its part, Samsung said that it “respects the trade
rules in the U.S. market, and is confident that once the full
investigation is concluded, the U.S. Department of Commerce
will confirm that Samsung is in compliance with
U.S. trade laws. We will continue to meet the demand
from U.S. consumers for our superior washing machines.”

Samsung sells 16 top- and front-load washers in the
U.S., many featuring the manufacturer’s
proprietary vibrationreduction
technology (VRT) for decreased
vibration and noise, and a
PowerFoam feature that produces
a deep-cleansing foam from water,
air and detergent.

Daewoo Electronics America
deferred all queries to headquarters
in Korea. The company offers
14 front-load washer SKUs in
the U.S., and recently announced
plans to introduce new products
here through the 11-dealer NATM
Buying Corp. “Daewoo will tap
NATM’s networks for sales and
marketing activities,” a Daewoo
spokesman said earlier this spring.

Whirlpool also filed anti-dumping
petitions in December against
large residential clothes washers
from South Korea and Mexico. A
preliminary determination in the
anti-dumping case is expected from
the Commerce Department in July,
although a final determination by the
ITC, if warranted, won’t come until
February 2013.

The company lost its last anti-dumping round in April,
when the ITC determined after a year-long investigation
that subsidies and below-market prices for South Korean
bottom-mount refrigerators, although confirmed by the
Commerce Department, haven’t harmed the domestic
majap industry.

The requirement of cash deposits over the course of the
subsidiary inquiry supplants a previous rule requiring importers
to post bonds to cover estimated duties between
the preliminary determination and any subsequent order,
the Commerce Department said.