WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday set preliminary duties ranging from practically zero to 71 percent on residential washing machines from South Korea in the latest trade action brought by U.S. manufacturer Whirlpool.
The U.S. Commerce Department estimated Daewoo Electronics Corp had received subsidies equal to 70.58 percent of the cost of production, compared to its findings of 0.22 percent for LG Electronics and 1.20 for Samsung Electronics .
The high duty rate for Daewoo was based on "adverse facts" supplied by Whirlpool because Daewoo declined to participate in the probe, the department said.
Importers will have to post bonds or cash deposits based on the preliminary rates while the Commerce Department continues its investigation. The United States imported an estimated $568 million of the washers from South Korea in 2011.
"Whirlpool Corporation is pleased with this favorable preliminary decision, given the proven record that South Korean appliance producers have benefited from their government's subsidies that violate trade law," company spokesperson Kristine Vernier said in a statement.
"We are optimistic that the final determination will further validate that these subsidies undermine competition and cause material harm to the U.S. appliance industry," she added.
But in an earlier case brought against South Korean and Mexico competitors, the century-old U.S. manufacturers initially won duties on bottom-mount refrigerators from the two countries only to have them nixed at the end.
The U.S. International Trade Commission, which has the final word in such cases, voted 5-0 against duties on the refrigerators, saying Whirlpool had not been materially injured or threatened with injury by the imports.