Whirlpool Wins Backing for Import Protection From Key Government Panel

10/05/17 11:47 AM EDT
By Jacob M. Schlesinger and Andrew Tangel 

WASHINGTON-- Whirlpool Corp. won crucial backing from a government panel in its bid to limit competition from foreign washing machine makers, giving the Trump administration another opportunity to invoke little-used powers to ramp up trade enforcement.

The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 4-0 Thursday to approve the petition from the Benton Harbor, Mich.-based manufacturer seeking protection in the American market from South Korean rivals Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. The vote came under a trade law that allows U.S. companies to win broad protection if they can show they suffered "serious injury" from a surge of imports.

The provision -- Section 201 of Trade Act of 1974 -- was last used in 2002 by the Bush administration to impose steel tariffs.

The members of the ITC -- a bipartisan, independent panel -- will next consider what specific policies they believe should be implemented. The deadline for the panel to send recommendations to the White House is Dec. 4. The Trump administration would then be required to make a decision by early next year on whether to impose import limits.

The Trump administration has not yet commented on this specific ITC case. But officials have said they would consider invoking the rarely used "safeguard" law more frequently in their bid to take a more aggressive stance on trade enforcement.

The companies involved in the trade dispute didn't immediately respond to a request for comment after the trade commission's vote Thursday.

Write to Jacob M. Schlesinger at jacob.schlesinger@wsj.com and Andrew Tangel at Andrew.Tangel@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 05, 2017 11:47 ET (15:47 GMT)

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