DARKE COUNTY — U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have joined forces to take on washing machine imports they see as unfair to American manufacturers, including plants in Ohio.
The two wrote to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, urging her to take action against the flood of unfairly traded washing machine imports that are harming U.S. manufacturers and their workers, including the Whirlpool plants in the Ohio cities of Clyde, Greenville, Findlay, Marion, and Ottawa.
“It is critical to jobs in Ohio that the Administration crack down on foreign trade cheats that continually try to skirt our trade laws to gain a competitive advantage,” said Portman. “When Whirlpool’s workers in Ohio have a level playing field, they can make washers more efficiently and as high quality as anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, foreign washer producers have shown that they will use any means necessary to gain an unfair advantage. The Administration must use all means within their power to ensure that our trade laws are complied with and protect Ohio jobs.”
“The workers at Ohio’s Whirlpool plants can go toe-to-toe with any washing machine manufacturers in the world but when international trade law is not enforced, it threatens U.S. companies and the jobs they support,” said Brown. “The U.S. needs to get tough on companies that don’t play by the rules and use underhanded tricks to evade anti-dumping duties. Giving U.S. washer manufacturers relief from unfair trade practices will ensure that they’re competing on a level playing field that doesn’t give foreign manufacturers an unfair advantage.”
As a result of an antidumping petition filed by Whirlpool in 2012, the Commerce Dept. imposed duties on Samsung and LG’s washing imports from Korea and Mexico. The companies have since moved their production to China and continue to export washing machines to the U.S. market at unfairly traded prices.
Whirlpool has filed another antidumping case that covers these Chinese imports but there are reports that Samsung, in another effort to avoid paying antidumping duties, has begun to move production to Vietnam and Thailand. The senators are asking Secretary Pritzker to address this pattern of serial dumping and duty evasion.
Sen. Brown’s office said he plans to testify on behalf of American washing machine manufacturers at an International Trade Commission hearing December 7.