The Commerce Department (DOC) has been given the green light to impose stiff antidumping duties on Chinese-made washers from LG and Samsung following a unanimous ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) yesterday.
The decision followed last month’s final determination by the DOC that Samsung and LG are selling washers in the U.S. at below fair market value, and affirmed the department’s assigned import margins of 52.5 percent and 32.1 percent, respectively.
The ruling forces the Korean companies to pay cash deposits on their made-in-China washers and ends, at least for now, Whirlpool’s pursuit of a level playing field in laundry after filing an antidumping petition in December 2015.
“This is a gratifying win for American manufacturing, particularly our more than 3,000 employees at our factory in Clyde, Ohio, who make clothes washers for American consumers,” Whirlpool chairman/CEO Jeff Fettig said. “The government made the right decision … affirming that Samsung and LG’s long-term pattern of serial dumping injures American appliance manufacturers and threatens U.S. jobs. By enforcing and applying trade remedies that help ensure fair competition, the government supports a solid U.S. manufacturing base and continued investments in innovation that improve the lives of consumers.”
Whirlpool suggested that its victory may be fleeting though, as Samsung and LG have since moved their Chinese laundry production to Thailand and Vietnam — much as they did when the vendors shifted washer production from South Korea and Mexico to China to avoid previous sanctions for predatory pricing.
For its part, LG argued that its Chinese washer imports are not causing “material injury” to Whirlpool or other U.S. manufacturers given their mass-premium pricing, and that the antidumping rates, while dramatically lower than those originally imposed, are still much higher than required by law due to “a wacky and possibly illegal margin calculation methodology,” the company said last month in a statement.
Samsung hasn’t responded to requests from TWICE for comment.