WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N) asked the U.S. government on Wednesday to impose duties on washers made by Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics (005930.KS) in China, alleging that they are being sold in the United States at prices below production costs.
The petition filed with the International Trade Commission by Whirlpool covers top-loading and front-loading clothes washers and some components for large residential clothes washer cabinets, tubs and baskets or drums.
In 2012, the United States slapped duties on Samsung and LG washers made in South Korea and Mexico after finding the products were sold too cheaply in the United States or benefited from unfair levels of government support. Whirlpool said in a filing the duties were being circumvented by shifting production to Chinese factories.
"Simply put, beginning in 2013, Samsung and LG replaced their dumped washers from Korea and Mexico with dumped washers from China," Whirlpool President Marc Bitzer said in a statement.
The company said dumping margins, which help determine the level of import duties, were as high as 109 percent.
LG Electronics USA Inc spokesman John Taylor said in a statement that the investigation will ultimately show that LG's washers have not been sold unfairly in the U.S. market.
"The petitioner is seeking to deprive consumers of choices among different brands, and LG will defend itself aggressively in this proceeding to preserve consumer choice," he said.
A Samsung Electronics spokesperson said the company "respects the trade rules in the U.S. market, and is confident that the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission will find no infringement."
Reporting by Krista Hughes and David Lawder; Editing by Peter Cooney and Tom Brown