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Published: Saturday, 12/31/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Whirlpool says rivals violating trade law

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

WASHINGTON -- Whirlpool Corp., the world's largest maker of appliances, asked the United States to impose duties on clothes-washer imports from rivals LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. for violating international trade laws.

Whirlpool has 3,500 workers at its Clyde, Ohio, factory, where it has made washers for years. The company has invested $175 million to produce energy-efficient and water-saving appliances, the statement said.

LG and Samsung sell the residential washers made in Mexico and South Korea for less than the products' fair value, undermining competition and threatening U.S. jobs, Whirlpool said in complaints filed Friday with the International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department.

Whirlpool also sought countervailing duties against imports from South Korea, saying that country's government provides unfair subsidies.

"It is important for an open global trading system to have a process for enforcement to maintain the integrity of the system and provide all manufacturers a level playing field on which to compete," Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool North America, said.

Spokesmen for LG and Samsung had no immediate comment.

The Commerce Department responded in October to a separate Whirlpool complaint, finding that LG and Samsung dumped refrigerators at a low cost.

Samsung faces a 36.65 percent tariff for refrigerators produced in Mexico and 32.2 percent for those from South Korea based on the preliminary findings, the department said. LG will pay 16.44 percent for products made in Mexico and 4.09 percent on South Korea units.

The trade commission may issue a preliminary finding in February, while the Commerce Department may release a decision in May, Whirlpool said.



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