Portman Praises ITC Decision to Protect Whirlpool Jobs from Unfair Foreign Trade

October 6, 2017 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) praised the International Trade Commission (ITC) decision to impose restrictions on imported washing machines that will stop South Korean manufacturers from unfairly flooding the American market. Portman, who has a lengthy record of delivering results for Ohio workers, testified before the ITC in September to protect Whirlpool and its 10,000 Ohio workers, including the more than 3,000 workers at Whirlpool’s largest American factory in Clyde, from unlawfully imported washers into the United States. Portman hosted an employee town hall meeting earlier this year at Whirlpool’s Clyde facility where he discussed his efforts to fight against unfair trade practices.

This decision will help ensure that Whirlpool’s workers in Ohio get a fair shake against unfair imports. Ohio has the most skilled workforce anywhere in the world, and Ohio’s Whirlpool workers make a world-class product efficiently. In Clyde, a washer comes off the assembly line every four seconds, and dozens of state-of-the-art autonomous vehicles are constantly buzzing around the floor. I have seen this firsthand and have met with hundreds of Ohio’s Whirlpool employees; it is easy to see why Whirlpool continues to invest in Clyde and its workers,” said Portman. “However, Ohio manufacturers are too often faced with foreign competitors who cheat on trade.  For years, Whirlpool has been hurt by unfair practices from their overseas competitors, who continue to look for ways to cheat, including by moving their production facilities to China. That is why I am committed to giving these workers a fair shake against unfair trade practices. With a level playing field, these workers can compete and win against anyone, and I will continue to work to ensure that our Ohio manufacturers get the level playing field they deserve.”

Portman is the co-author of the ENFORCE Act and the Leveling the Playing Field Act, legislation that is paying dividends for Ohio’s workers, and he has worked closely with Whirlpool and its Ohio employees to combat unfair foreign trading practices. In 2012, Portman sent a letter urging the Commerce Department to defend Whirlpool, which returned all production to the United States in 2008.  He also provided testimony to the ITC.  In response to evidence of foreign companies dumping their washers in the U.S. market, the ITC heeded Portman’s concerns and penalized those foreign companies with anti-dumping tariffs. 

Following the ruling, however, South Korean manufacturers moved their washer production facilities to China, skirting the order and continuing to dump its products unfairly into the United States. Portman again testified on Whirlpool’s behalf before the ITC, arguing once again that these foreign companies were illegally dumping washers into the United States.  In January of this year, the ITC agreed and ruled that Whirlpool workers had been harmed by the flood of unfairly traded washing machine imports from China. That decision meant additional duties will be applied to washers imported from China into the United States.  This most recent decision by the ITC will impose restrictions on imported washing machines that will prevent South Korean manufacturers from evading duty orders by “country-hopping”, and ensure that they can no longer flood the American market with cheap machines.