US puts preliminary tariff on South Korean fridges

whirlpool fridge logo Whirlpool started the action against rivals saying they were selling at "unfairly low" prices

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The United States has put preliminary anti-dumping duties on some fridge freezers from South Korea and Mexico.

The US Commerce Department said it would apply duties of up to 37% on bottom-mount refrigerators - those with freezers below the fridge - made by Samsung and LG in those countries.

The US imported $880m (£550m; 622m euros) of refrigerators from South Korea in 2010 and $2.31bn from Mexico.

The duties were prompted by a complaint by US fridge giant Whirlpool.

Whirlpool, which employs 23,000 in the US, said in a statement: "When foreign companies like Samsung and LG violate trade laws, they destroy the ability of United States producers to invest, innovate and create jobs here in America."

'Unfair'

The US Commerce Department criticised Samsung for its submissions to it: "We found that Samsung Korea did not act to the best of its ability by failing to submit useable data with respect to its sales of certain products subject to the investigation."

Samsung and LG make refrigerators in both South Korea and Mexico.

In its complaint, Whirlpool accused the producers of selling the bottom-mount refrigerators in the US at unfairly low prices.

Whirlpool also accused its South Korean competitors of receiving government subsidies, but the Commerce Department has so far denied duties on that front.

Other producers, including Mabe and Electrolux, had duties of 36% and 20% imposed on their Mexican-made profits.

South Korean company Daewoo, also part of the complaint, had a zero tariff applied.

In a separate move, the Commerce Department also imposed preliminary anti-dumping duties of up to 194% on about $80m of steel wheels from China that it said were being sold at unfairly low prices.

US corporations Accuride and Hayes Lemmerz International triggered the move by filing a case in March this year.

President Barack Obama's administration has imposed anti-dumping duties on 23 different products from China since taking office in 2009.

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