WASHINGTON, May 13 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. trade panel Friday ruled in favor of Whirlpool Corp. in its antidumping petitions against South Korean rivals Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics for their alleged sale of refrigerators in the U.S. at a discount.
The U.S. International Trade Commission said in a statement that it "today determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of bottom mount combination refrigerator- freezers from Korea that are allegedly subsidized and from Korea and Mexico that are allegedly sold in the United States at less than fair value."
Whirlpool filed the petitions in March with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the ITC, calling for "an investigation into the substantial unfair subsidies given by the Korean government to Samsung and LG in the past few years, injuring U.S.-based producers as a result."
Bottom-mount fridges have a freezer on the bottom to save energy.
Samsung and LG manufacture products in plants from South Korea and Mexico for shipments to the U.S. and other countries.
The U.S. imported US$2.3 billion worth of refrigerators from Mexico and $881 million from South Korea last year.
"As a result of the Commission's affirmative determinations, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue to conduct its countervailing duty investigation on imports of these products from Korea and its antidumping duty investigations on imports of these products from Korea and Mexico, with its preliminary countervailing duty determination due on or about June 23, 2011, and its preliminary antidumping duty determinations due on or about September 6, 2011," the ITC said.
Whirlpool welcomed the ITC's preliminary ruling.
"Whirlpool Corporation is pleased with the ITC's preliminary affirmative determination that imports from Korea and Mexico are causing material injury to the domestic industry," Jill Saletta, spokesperson for Whirlpool Corp., said in a statement.
"This unanimous decision by the ITC validates the action we've taken to protect our 23,000 U.S. employees and the communities in which they work. Whirlpool will continue to cooperate fully with the ITC and the Department of Commerce throughout the remainder of these investigations."
LG rebutted the ruling.
"While LG respects the work the ITC Staff and Commissioners have put into this preliminary determination, the company respectfully disagrees with the preliminary result," the South Korean electronics giant said in a statement. "The company will aggressively contest the injury-related issues in the final determination phase."
Sam Kim, president of home appliances for LG Electronics USA Inc., expressed confidence in a statement that his company "will prevail in the final ITC determination," saying, "LG looks forward to the opportunity to more fully set forth the reasons why imports from LG, the innovation leader in the refrigerator industry, has in no manner injured Whirlpool."