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Portman Ramps Up Pressure on Commerce Department to Protect Ohio Workers

April 27, 2016 - 11:49 AM

From the office of Senator Portman

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) sent a letter urging the Secretary of Commerce to protect Ohio workers by updating the tariff rates to better reflect market changes since an initial anti-dumping order in 2013 on imported Large Residential Washers (LRWs) from Korea.

“When Ohio companies like Whirlpool return home and invest in our communities, the government should have their back and enforce our trade laws against unfair and unscrupulous foreign companies,” Senator Portman said. “For years, Whirlpool has faced an uneven playing field because of unfair practices by their overseas competitors. I was pleased to see the International Trade Commission levy duties on those unfair competitors in 2013, and now the time has come to update those duties to reflect changes since the initial ITC ruling.  This will ensure that companies like Whirlpool, and its workers, are protected.”

NOTE: Senator Portman has worked closely with Whirlpool and its’ 10,000 Ohio employees to combat unfair foreign trading practices. In 2012, Portman sent a letter urging the Commerce Department to defend Whirlpool, which returned all production to the United States in 2008.  He also provided testimony to the ITC.  In response to evidence of foreign companies dumping their washers in the U.S. market, the ITC heeded Portman’s concerns and penalized those foreign companies with anti-dumping tariffs. Senator Portman’s latest letter calls upon the Commerce Department to update the tariff rates to reflect market and product changes since the initial anti-dumping order.

Following is the full text of the letter, which can also be found here:

Dear Secretary Pritzker:

I am writing to you in connection with the Department of Commerce’s recently initiated third administrative review of the antidumping duty order on large residential washers (“LRWs”) from Korea. 

The calculation of accurate dumping margins is paramount under our antidumping law, and product comparisons grounded in appropriate “model matches” is fundamental to fulfilling that mandate.  While I understand the Department has a preference for maintaining the same model match criteria throughout the life of an order, it is imperative that the Department modify those criteria when circumstances warrant. 

Recent developments in the washers industry suggest that the Department should reconsider its approach to “model matching.”  For example, since the original investigation, the Department has distinguished washers that differ only slightly in capacity – by as little as 0.1 cubic feet.  I understand that washers sold today have much greater capacity such that such slight differences in capacity may not be commercially significant.  In addition, the Department should consider the implications of recent changes to Department of Energy regulations governing capacity testing procedures and energy efficiency standards on the Department’s product matching criteria such as capacity.  These changes took effect during the first quarter of 2015. 

Given the importance of these developments in assessing the price comparability of washers, I urge the Department to carefully consider comments presented by parties and to modify its matching methodology as appropriate to account for these recent developments in the third administrative review.   

I appreciate the Department’s work in investigating unfairly traded imports.  I trust that your team will focus its attention on this important issue and continue to effectively administer the antidumping order on LRWs from Korea.  I would also appreciate an update on the status of this review later this year.


Rob Portman

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