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UPDATE 2-Panel finds U.S. washing machine makers hurt by LG, Samsung imports

(Adds statements from companies involved, details on case)

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. International Trade
Commission found on Thursday that surging imports of large
residential washing machines harmed domestic producers, a major
step toward the imposition of broad duties or quotas on
foreign-made Samsung- and LG-brand machines.

The case, brought by U.S. appliance giant Whirlpool Corp
, sought "global safeguard" restrictions to stop South
Korean rivals Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and LG
Electronics Inc from flooding the U.S. market with
cheaper washers.

The commission, voting 4-0 in favor of a finding that the
large number of imports was hurting domestic manufacturers, will
recommend remedies by Dec. 4 to President Donald Trump, who is
expected to make a final decision by early next year.

A public hearing on possible remedies has been scheduled for
Oct. 19, an ITC spokeswoman said.

The panel did not find that washers made specifically in
South Korea, already subject to anti-dumping duties, were
responsible for harming U.S. manufacturers.

Whirlpool Chairman Jeff Fettig said the decision was another
vindication in the company's years-long anti-dumping battle with
Samsung and LG, in which he had accused them of moving
production around the world in order to avoid U.S. duties.

"This type of corrective action will create U.S.
manufacturing jobs," Fettig said.

Samsung and LG both issued statements saying that import
curbs would hurt consumers by raising prices, limiting choice
and stifling innovation.

They emphasized their own investments worth hundreds of
millions of dollars in new appliance factories in the United
States, both announced since Trump took office in January.

LG accused Whirlpool of using U.S. trade laws to restrain an
innovative competitor.

"Soon, competition in the washer market will not be about
domestic vs. foreign production," LG said its statement. "It
will be about competition among washers made in the United
States, in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina."

The washer case represents a dilemma for Trump and his
"America First" trade agenda, potentially putting him in the
position of punishing companies that have pledged investments to
bring manufacturing jobs to the United States.

The ITC's decision is the second in two weeks that the panel
has found injury in a "global safeguard" case, after ruling that
cheap solar panel imports from China and other countries were
hurting domestic producers SolarWorld America and
Suniva Inc, majority-owned by China's Shunfeng International
Clean Energy Ltd .

The washer and solar cases were filed under Section 201 of
the Trade Act of 1974, a statute that hasn't been invoked since
2002, when George W. Bush imposed broad temporary tariffs on
steel imports.

The steel duties were withdrawn 21 months later after the
World Trade Organization found the action a violation of U.S.
tariff-rate commitments.
(Editing by Tom Brown and Bernadette Baum)

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