Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corp. chairman Jeff M. Fettig today announced the Trump Administration’s decision to establish a tariff of up to the legal maximum of 50 percent on imports of large residential washing machines will be a boon for the appliance manufacturer.
The decision comes in response to Samsung and LG’s decade-long efforts to unlawfully dump washers and circumvent U.S. law.
“This announcement caps nearly a decade of litigation and will result in new manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee,” says Fettig. “This is a victory for American workers and consumers alike. By enforcing our existing trade laws, President Trump has ensured American workers will compete on a level playing field with their foreign counterparts, enable new manufacturing jobs here in America, and usher in a new era of innovation for consumers.”
In anticipation of increased demand, Whirlpool added 200 new full-time positions at its manufacturing plant in Clyde, Ohio. The company says the addition is “just the beginning of increased investments in innovation, manufacturing, and additional manufacturing jobs for Whirlpool and its vendors.”
“We want to thank the president, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, the International Trade Commission, and members of Congress for putting American workers first,” says Fettig. “We pursued these trade cases … and we hope today’s announcement finally reestablishes real competition.”
Litigation for the decision began in 2011 after Whirlpool filed its first anti-dumping petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). In all three cases brought by Whirlpool, the ITC voted unanimously that imports by Samsung and LG injured American workers and manufacturers.
The president will implement a tariff rate quota effective for three years that covers finished large residential washers and key washer parts imported from all countries, including South Korea.
Whirlpool employs 93,000 people and has approximately $21 billion in annual sales. The company operated 70 manufacturing and technology research centers in 2016.