U.S. says Korea was dumping fridges

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U.S. says Korea was dumping fridges

The U.S. may impose duties of as much as 30.34 percent on refrigerator-freezers imported by Korea’s Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics and Sweden’s Electrolux, the Commerce Department ruled.

The case decided today goes back to the U.S. International Trade Commission, which is scheduled to make its final ruling on the duties by April 30.

The complaint was brought by Benton Harbor, Michigan-based Whirlpool, which said the foreign rivals were selling their products in the U.S. at an unfair discount. The models covered by the decision have the freezer below the refrigerator section.

“As the world’s leading home appliance maker, we are taking a stand with these petitions to protect our 23,000 U.S. employees who produce the innovative and high-quality products that consumers demand,” Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool North America, said in a statement.

Samsung, may pay a tariff of 15.95 percent for refrigerators produced in Mexico and 5.16 percent for those from Korea, the Commerce Department said in an e-mailed statement. LG Electronics will pay 30.34 percent for products made in Mexico and 15.41 percent on Korea units.

Electrolux, based in Stockholm, will pay 22.94 percent on imports from Mexico.

The Commerce Department’s calculations were “based on flawed methodologies,” Samsung said in a statement. U.S. consumers will be hurt by the higher prices, the company said.

LG Electronics “will aggressively contest” the ruling, which is based on “erroneous and inaccurate” calculations, Chris Jung, president for home appliances at LG Electronics USA, based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, said in a statement. U.S. officials compared prices on LG’s Mexico products with a line of refrigerators sold in Korea to store kimchi.

A U.S.-based representative for Electrolux didn’t return messages seeking comment on the agency’s determination on dumping.

The Commerce Department in October suggested preliminary duties of as much as 36.65 percent. Imports of refrigerators in 2011 were valued at $965.5 million from Korea, according to the department. Bloomberg

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