U.S. sets duties on South Korean, Mexican refrigerators

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 19, 2012 4:21 PM
U.S. sets duties on South Korean, Mexican refrigerators

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Monday ordered final duties on bottom-mount refrigerators from South Korea and Mexico in a case brought by U.S. manufacturer Whirlpool against foreign rivals, including LG and Samsung.

Whirlpool accused the Mexican and South Korean producers of selling the refrigerators, which have the freezer section on the bottom, in the U.S. market at unfairly low price.

The century-old Michigan-based manufacturer, in a petition filed last year with the U.S. Commerce Department, also said its South Korean competitors received government subsidies.

"As the world's leading home appliance maker, we are taking a stand with these petitions to protect our 23,000 U.S. employees," Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool North America, said in a statement welcoming the decision.

The U.S. Commerce Department set an 30.34 percent anti-dumping duty on LG's bottom-mount refrigerators made in Mexico and a 15.41 percent duty on the same style of refrigerators that LG makes in South Korea.

It set a 15.95 percent anti-dumping duty on Samsung's Mexican-made bottom-mount refrigerators and a 5.16 percent anti-dumping duty on Samsung's South Korean-made bottom-mount refrigerators.

Samsung said it was disappointed with the ruling.

"Although Samsung will do everything we can to mitigate any impact of this decision on our business and customers, American consumers stand to lose the most from today's determination," the company said in a statement.

The department hit two other companies that produce bottom-mount refrigerators in Mexico, Mabe and Electrolux, with anti-dumping duties of 6.0 percent and 22.94 percent respectively.

In a related case, it set countervailing duties of 12.9 percent on bottom-mount refrigerators exported from South Korea by Daewoo and 2.46 percent on Samsung to offset government subsidies the two companies received.

The U.S. International Trade Commission has to determine U.S. producers have been injured, or threatened with injury for the duties to take force. That vote is set for April.

The Commerce Department set preliminary duties in the anti-dumping case last year.

(Reporting By Doug Palmer; Editing by Paul Simao)