Portman Statement on ITC Ruling to Protect Ohio Workers

January 23, 2013 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S.  Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), former United States Trade Representative (USTR), released the following statement regarding the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)’s unanimous ruling that unlawful pricing by foreign competitors is hurting the 10,000 Whirlpool employees in Ohio:

“Ohio companies like Whirlpool who bring back critical manufacturing jobs from overseas deserve protection of U.S. trade laws.  They make the best products in the world with great workers, but they have been losing money and business due to unfair practices by their overseas competitors.  I was pleased that the ITC has properly ruled to protect Ohio workers and will provide a more level playing field with their overseas competitors who were found not to obey U.S. trade laws.”

Senator Portman has worked closely with Whirlpool on this important case for their 10,000 Ohio employees.  In December, Portman provided testimony to the ITC imploring them to protect Whirlpool, which returned all production to the United States in 2008, and ensure that it is no longer penalized due to unfairly imported Large Residential Washers from Korea and Mexico.  In June, Portman sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce urging them to closely examine this case, and laying out specific concerns with the investigation.  Portman also toured the Clyde facility to learn more about their operations.

Portman’s testimony implored the ITC to grant “Whirlpool…the opportunity to compete against fairly traded imports.”  Whirlpool is currently losing out to foreign companies that are dumping their washers in the U.S. market, selling them at lower costs, and thereby gaining an unfair competitive advantage over American manufacturers.

In addition, his testimony highlighted the sad reality that if nothing is done to enforce our trade laws in this case, American companies may be discouraged from bringing their production and their jobs home in the future.

“Whirlpool chose to invest in America, placing its faith in the work ethic and the ingenuity of more than 3,000 workers in Clyde, Ohio, out of the more than 10,000 Whirlpool employees in my home State of Ohio.  But it also placed its faith in the marketplace and the notion that if you make a good, competitive product that consumers want to buy and you price it fairly, your investments will pay off,” Portman said.  “When Whirlpool made the decision to invest more than $100 million in the plant in Clyde, Ohio, they were, in my view, entitled to assume that there would be a fair and competitive pricing environment.  They were equally entitled to assume that the U.S. trade remedy laws were as available to them as to any other American business if it turned out, as it has here, that unfairly traded imports came pouring in.”