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Rob Portman : Portman, Brown Urge Trade Relief for Ohio Whirlpool Workers

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01/03/2018 | 06:50pm CEST

Senators Urged International Trade Commission to Rule in Favor of Workers, Now Pressing Lighthizer to Stand Against Unfair Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) successfully urged the International Trade Commission (ITC) to rule that workers at Whirlpool's Clyde, OH plant had been hurt by unfair washing machine imports by Samsung and LG. In October, the ITC made a determination of injury, and then presented a list of recommended remedies to Ambassador Lighthizer. As Ambassador Lighthizer considers those recommendations, the Senators are asking he make a strong recommendation to President Trump that will provide broad relief for the U.S. washing machine industry in response serial trade violations by companies like LG and Samsung.

'We are pleased to see the ITC find that there has been injury in this case, and that the ITC agreed that there should be no product exclusion as part of the remedy,' said the Senators in a letter sent this week ahead of today's USTR hearing. 'These findings form the basis of a strong remedy that helps American workers and communities, like Clyde, continue to grow, and we believe that with the inclusion of the above recommendations, this global safeguard action will be a success. Ultimately, a strong remedy in this case - one that embraces the aforementioned recommendations - will provide the level playing field that lets American companies, and workers, compete, and win.'

The case sought broad relief for the U.S. washing machine industry in response to the pattern of violations by companies like LG and Samsung who've repeatedly exported their washers to the U.S. at unfair prices. Today, Ambassador Lighthizer is holding a hearing to determine what remedies should be put in place to give the domestic industry the relief they need from unfair washer imports. He will then make a recommendation on those remedies to the President.

Portman and Brown both testified at ITC on behalf of Whirlpool, and urged ITC to take make a positive ruling.

Since 2012, Ohio's Senators have fought against these unfair trade practices that have harmed Whirlpool, and most recently helped secure relief in a case against washing machine imports from China.

Portman and Brown worked to get the Leveling the Playing Field Act signed into law in June 2015, restoring strength to antidumping and countervailing duty statutes that allow businesses and workers in the United States to petition the Commerce Department and the ITC when foreign producers sell goods in the U.S. below market price or receive illegal subsidies. The law led to key wins for Ohio steel companies in major trade cases last year on cold-rolled, hot-rolled, and corrosion-resistant steel, including U.S. Steel, Nucor, ArcelorMittal, and AK Steel, which together employ more than 8,200 Ohio workers.

Read the full letter below and here.

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,

We write to you to share our perspective on the International Trade Commission's (ITC) recommendation in Investigation No. TA-201-76, Large Residential Washers. As you consider the ITC's recommendation, we wanted to provide an Ohio viewpoint in the case.

As you may know, one of the petitioners in this case is Whirlpool, which manufactures washing machines at their facility in Clyde, Ohio. In 2008, Whirlpool took a bold step and stopped sourcing its washers from its overseas facilities. That same year Whirlpool invested $100 million in its Clyde plant. Today, Whirlpool is an intrinsic part of Clyde. Scott Black, Clyde's Mayor - who met his wife at the Whirlpool factory - is adamant: 'Without Whirlpool being here, Clyde would still be a village and not a city.' Thanks to the best workforce in the world and cutting edge technology this plant produces every large residential washer sold by Whirlpool in the United States. Every four seconds a high-quality machine comes off the assembly line.

Unfortunately, Whirlpool's investment in Ohio and the United States has been threatened by unfairly imported washing machines from overseas. We both have been very active in the series of trade cases filed, and won, by Whirlpool over the years and know that a strong remedy in this global safeguard case is vital for securing a level playing field in this industry.

Mindful of the need for a strong remedy, we are concerned that the ITC's recommendation is insufficient to provide meaningful relief to domestic washer manufacturers and the thousands of workers they employ. We believe that a full remedy in this case involves three components.

First, it must include a fifty percent tariff on washer imports. The current tariff rate quota which provides zero to twenty percent duties on the first 1.2 million units is insufficient at curbing the flood of unfair washing machine imports that we have seen for years. We believe a fifty percent tariff on all imports will go a long way to slowing the flow of these unfair products.

Second, the global safeguard remedy must apply to the Republic of Korea. Unfortunately the need for the current global safeguard action is the result of unfair trade practices on the part of two foreign producers - Samsung and LG - who manufacture their machines in the Republic of Korea. To exclude exports from this country is to create a loophole large enough to eviscerate the effectiveness of this section 201 remedy.

Third, we recommend that you call for a quota on covered parts such as tubs, drums, and cabinets. This will assist in making the remedy effectual and complete.

We are pleased to see the ITC find that there has been injury in this case, and that the ITC agreed that there should be no product exclusion as part of the remedy. These findings form the basis of a strong remedy that helps American workers and communities, like Clyde, continue to grow, and we believe that with the inclusion of the above recommendations, this global safeguard action will be a success. Ultimately, a strong remedy in this case - one that embraces the aforementioned recommendations - will provide the level playing field that lets American companies, and workers, compete, and win. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

###

Rob Portman published this content on 03 January 2018 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein.
Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 03 January 2018 17:49:05 UTC.

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