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U.S. trade panel calls for import restrictions on South Korean washers

Staff Writer | November 22, 2017
A United States trade panel called for import restrictions on South Korean washing machines to improve the standing of domestic rivals.
South Korean washers
Trade tensions   U.S. International Trade Commission
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) said it is recommending a 50 percent tariff rate on large residential washers built by Samsung and LG and exceeding a quota of 1.2 million units.

The recommendation comes in response to a safeguard petition filed by U.S.-based Whirlpool in May. The commission determined last month that the Samsung and LG washers were having an adverse impact on the domestic industry.

Whirlpool had demanded a flat tariff rate of 50 percent on all units, along with quotas on imported parts. Samsung and LG counterproposed a 50 percent tariff on units exceeding a quota of 1.45 million.

The recommendation will be sent to President Donald Trump by Dec. 4, and he is expected to make a decision early next year. On units below the quota line, the commission said it offered two different options -- a tariff rate of zero percent or 20 percent.

If Trump approves the safeguard measures, it will be the first such action since 2002, when the George W. Bush administration imposed an 8-30 percent duty on imported steel.

The new measure would apply only to Samsung and LG washers manufactured overseas, not in South Korea.

South Korea has argued the restrictions could hurt the U.S. by limiting American consumers' choices and undermining operations at two South Korean-built washer plants that are scheduled to go online by 2019.