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Offshore Majap Makers Facing Stiff Tariffs On Bottom-Mount Fridges


Offshore majap makers are facing
possible double-digit import duties on bottom-mount
refrigerators following last week’s determination by the
U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) that their products
were sold in the U.S. at below-market prices.

The year-long investigation was triggered by Whirlpool,
which filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions
last March against Electrolux, LG Electronics, Samsung and
Mabe, a Mexican OEM that produces appliances for GE.

Among other claims, Whirlpool had cited “substantial
unfair subsidies given by the Korean government to Samsung
and LG in the past few years,” although the DOC
dropped its countervailing duty claim against LG after
finding that the company’s refrigerators are not illegally

The case now goes before the U.S. International Trade
Commission (ITC), an independent, quasi-judicial federal
agency, which will make a final determination in April. If
the ITC supports the DOC’s determination, duty deposits
could be required from the four vendors as early as May.

Based on the DOC’s dumping margin findings, the import
duties may be as high as:

• 30.34 percent for LG’s Mexican-assembled fridges
and 15.41 percent for those made in Korea;

• 15.95 percent for Samsung’s Mexican-assembled
fridges and 5.16 percent for those made in Korea;

• 22.94 percent for Electrolux’s Mexican-assembled
fridges; and

• 6 percent for Mabe-made products.

In a separate case related to bottom-mount refrigerators
from South Korea, the DOC found dumping margins of
12.9 percent for exports by Daewoo and 2.46 percent for
exports by Samsung.

In a statement released to TWICE, GE said it disagrees
with the DOC’s determination that its 2010 Mabe-made
bottom mounts were priced 6 percent below “normal
value,” and plans to ask the agency to reconsider its decision.
“A thorough review of the data submitted to DOC
would have shown that no dumping was taking place,” GE

For their part, both LG and Samsung said the DOC
used a discredited comparison methodology called “zeroing,”
which inflated the margin data.

LG also claimed that the DOC erroneously compared
U.S. prices of Mexican refrigerators to the prices in Korea
for a highly specialized line of Korean refrigerators designed
primarily to store kimchi, a Korean food specialty,
which highly inflated the antidumping duty margin for its
Mexican-made fridges.

Chris Jung, president of Home Appliances for LG Electronics
USA, promised to “continue to aggressively contest
the antidumping duty findings through every means
possible in order to obtain determinations that fully and
accurately reflect [LG’s] pricing in the U.S. market.”

Samsung said it is “disappointed” with the DOC’s determination,
which it claims is based on “flawed methodologies.

“The use of zeroing created an antidumping margin
where dumping did not occur,” the company said. “We are disappointed that the Commerce Department
continues to use this discredited methodology,”
which has been found in several instances
to violate World Trade Organization
standards upon which the antidumping duty
laws are based.

“Although Samsung will do everything we
can to mitigate any impact of this decision on
our business and customers, American consumers
stand to lose the most from today’s determination,”
Samsung said.

The company also reiterated its “long-term
commitment” to its U.S. majap business.

Electrolux had not commented on the ruling
by press time.

Whirlpool said it “remains confident that the
successful conclusion of these investigations
will lead to trade remedies against unlawfully
traded bottom-mount refrigerators from South
Korea and Mexico.”

In a separate investigation, the U.S. ITC said
last month that it found preliminary evidence
of predatory pricing on certain large-capacity
washers imported from Korea and Mexico by
LG and Samsung. The investigation is expected
to run through next February.