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Commerce Department sides with Whirlpool

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After investigating pricing practices among foreign appliance makers, the U.S. Commerce Department ruled on March 19 that two South Korean manufacturers and four Mexican producers were guilty of “dumping” their bottom-mount refrigerators on the U.S. market by selling them at less than fair value. The case was opened in response to a complaint filed by U.S. manufacturer Whirlpool. 

LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics, the two South Korean appliance makers, were determined to have a 15.41% and 5.16% dumping margin, respectively. For the appliances produced in Mexico, the findings were 30.34% for LG Electronics; 15.95% for Samsung; 6.0% for Mabe and 22.94% for Electrolux. 

In a prepared statement, LG Electronics noted that the Commerce Department found in its favor on one issue: whether LG refrigerators were illegally subsidized. (The ruling was a “negative final determination.”) As for the anti-dumping finding, LG said it would “aggressively contest” the Commerce Department’s conclusion that LG’s bottom-mount refrigerator-freezers imported from Korea and Mexico are sold at dumped prices in the U.S. 

“Commerce erroneously compared U.S. prices of Mexican refrigerators to the prices in Korea of a highly specialized line of Korean refrigerators designed primarily to store kimchi, a Korean food specialty,” the statement read. 

Samsung said it was “disappointed that the Commerce Department continues to use discredited methodology” to calculate its antidumping margins. 

“American consumers stand to lose the most from today’s determination,” Samsung said in its statement. “Samsung will continue to compete in the U.S. market. We have a long-term commitment to our home appliance business in the United States.”

The U.S. International Trade Commission, which is operating a concurrent investigation, is expecting to issue its findings on or about April 30, 2012.  

Whirlpool, which filed the anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions in March 2011, said in a statement it is only seeking to establish conditions of fair competition in the U.S. market and the U.S. jobs created by that production. The appliances affected by this case are made in Amana, Iowa. 

 

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