Portman, Brown Call on Commerce Department to Protect Ohio's Washing Machine Manufacturers

October 27, 2016 | Press Releases

Foreign Manufacturers are Dumping Washing Machines Imports into American Market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, urging her to take action against the flood of unfairly traded washing machine imports that are harming U.S. manufacturers and their workers, including the Whirlpool plants in Clyde, Greenville, Findlay, Marion, and Ottawa.

It is critical to jobs in Ohio that the Administration crack down on foreign trade cheats that continually try to skirt our trade laws to gain a competitive advantage,” said Portman. “When Whirlpool’s workers in Ohio have a level playing field, they can make washers more efficiently and as high quality as anywhere in the world.  Unfortunately, foreign washer producers have shown that they will use any means necessary to gain an unfair advantage.  The Administration must use all means within their power to ensure that our trade laws are complied with and protect Ohio jobs.”                                                                                               

The workers at Ohio’s Whirlpool plants can go toe-to-toe with any washing machine manufacturers in the world but when international trade law is not enforced, it threatens U.S. companies and the jobs they support,” said Brown. “The U.S. needs to get tough on companies that don’t play by the rules and use underhanded tricks to evade anti-dumping duties. Giving U.S. washer manufacturers relief from unfair trade practices will ensure that they’re competing on a level playing field that doesn’t give foreign manufacturers an unfair advantage.”

As a result of an antidumping petition filed by Whirlpool in 2012, the Commerce Department imposed duties on Samsung and LG’s washing imports from Korea and Mexico. The companies have since moved their production to China and continue to export washing machines to the U.S. market at unfairly traded prices. Whirlpool has filed another antidumping case that covers these Chinese imports but there are reports that Samsung, in another effort to avoid paying antidumping duties, has begun to move production to Vietnam and Thailand. The senators are asking Secretary Pritzker to address this pattern of serial dumping and duty evasion.

Full text of the letter is below:

October 26, 2016

The Honorable Penny Pritzker

Secretary

U.S. Department of Commerce

1401 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20230

Dear Secretary Pritzker:

We are writing to express our concern about the flood of unfairly traded washing machine imports that are harming U.S. manufacturers and their workers.  We understand that foreign producers are shifting production to different countries to avoid antidumping orders, and we urge you to strongly enforce U.S. trade laws and address all the circumvention tactics that foreign producers are employing to undermine the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.

In 2012, Whirlpool filed an antidumping petition against washing machine imports from Korea and Mexico produced by Samsung and LG.  Even before the Commerce Department (Department) and the International Trade Commission issued their final determinations and imposed duties on washer imports from Korea and Mexico, Samsung and LG moved production to China and continued to export washing machines to the U.S. market at unfairly traded prices. 

These moves to China compelled Whirlpool to file a new antidumping case covering washer imports from China produced by Samsung and LG.  We were pleased with the Department’s strong preliminary determination in the case and the finding of “critical circumstances” against Samsung for stockpiling washers in the U.S. prior to the imposition of antidumping deposits.  We are troubled, however, by reports that Samsung began to relocate its washing machine production from China to Vietnam and Thailand as soon as the cash deposits were announced in July to avoid paying any antidumping duties that may be levied against Chinese imports. 

We urge the Department to use every available tool to address this pattern of serial dumping and duty evasion, including retroactive relief pursuant the affirmative critical circumstances finding in response to Samsung and LG’s stockpiling of washers in the U.S.  If Samsung and LG move production to another country, these antidumping duties collected during the 90-day retroactive period may be the only remedy that materializes from this case.  We also urge you to reject Samsung’s request to post bonds instead of paying the cash deposit.  The company’s history of duty evasion and unfair trade practices warrants the cash deposit requirement. 

We believe Samsung and LG are engaged in a strategy to dump washing machines into the U.S. market until domestic producers can no longer compete.  We ask you to use all authority available to you to respond to these producers’ efforts to evade antidumping duties by shifting production.  U.S. washer manufacturers and workers in Kentucky and Ohio deserve maximum relief from these unfair trade practices.

Sincerely, 

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