Updated! No. 1 global majap maker Whirlpool is looking to limit its competitors’ ability to evade anti-dumping laws by shifting production from country to country.
The vendor, which has twice won rulings against Samsung and LG for predatory washer pricing, 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.
In its latest anti-dumping effort, 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 to Whirlpool or any U.S. manufacturer 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 noted that the petition follows recent accolades from Consumer Reports and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), and that the measure – which would allow the government to restrict imports from all countries if they are found to be a significant cause of serious injury to U.S. producers – is “a high legal standard that Whirlpool cannot meet.”
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, which is rumored to be planning its own U.S. majap factory, also says that it is in compliance with U.S. trade laws. “We reject the notion that imports of our washing machines harm Whirlpool,” the company said in a statement. “Consumers buy Samsung washing machines because of our design and innovation, and now they stand to lose the most by this filing, with the potential for limited choices, higher prices and stunted innovation.”
Whirlpool expects the ITC to reach a judgement by late September, and develop recommended measures by late November for possible enactment by President Trump by year’s end.