Posted 24th January

Trump imposes ‘safeguard’ tariffs on imported washers

By KBBDaily on 24th January 2018 - 07:00am
donald trump, us, president, washing machine, whirlpool corporation, appliance, kitchen, bathroom, kbb, kbbdaily, ekbbusiness, tariff

US president Trump has approved hefty 'safeguard' tariffs on imported washing machines designed to “provide relief” to US manufacturers based on findings and recommendations by the US International Trade Commission – ITC.

According to US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, imports of washing machines into the US “increased dramatically” between 2012 and 2016, causing a “substantial loss in market share to domestic producers” which were “running multimillion-dollar net operating losses” by 2016.

“These cases were filed by American businesses and thoroughly litigated at the International Trade Commission over a period of several months,” said Lighthizer. “The ITC found that US producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the president.”

In 2015, Whirlpool filed an anti-dumping petition against Samsung and LG outlining a “long-term, repeated pattern of pricing below cost by Samsung and LG that is injuring American washer manufacturers and threatening manufacturing jobs”, it said at the time.

In early 2017, the US Department of Commerce issued an anti-dumping order on washing machines from China, which Lighthizer said led to a shift in production to Thailand and Vietnam. In June last year, Whirlpool requested the ITC carry out an investigation under Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act covering the years 2012-2016 to “determine whether increased imports were a substantial cause of serious injury to domestic producers”.

The new 'safeguard' tariffs will see a 20% tariff imposed on the first 1.2 million imported washing machines in the first year, with a 50% tariff on machines above that figure. Tariffs will then decline to 18% and 45% in the second year, before dropping to 16% and 40% in the third year.

Whirlpool Corporation chairman Jeff Fettig has praised Trump for his administration’s decision “to uphold long-standing trade rules by establishing a tariff of up to the legal maximum of 50% on imports of large residential washing machines”.

“This is a victory for American workers and consumers alike,” Fettig said. “By enforcing our existing trade laws, President Trump has ensured American workers will compete on a level playing field with their foreign counterparts, enabled new manufacturing jobs here in America and will usher in a new era of innovation for consumers everywhere.”

Image: Gage Skidmore

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