The department estimated Mexico manufacturers were selling the washers in the United States at prices 33.30 percent to 72.41 percent below fair value. It said South Korean producers were undercutting prices by 9.62 percent to 82.41 percent.

In an odd twist, one of the two Mexican manufacturers hit with the 72.41 percent preliminary duty was Whirlpool itself.

Whirlpool said in a statement it has stopped shipping washers from Mexico for sale in the United States and therefore would not face any duties.

The company said it has made significant investments at its Clyde, Ohio plant and expects nearly 100 percent of the washers its sells in the United States will be American-made by 2013.

"Whirlpool is committed to building products in the regions where they are sold and investing in our U.S. manufacturing presence. Our investments will continue as long as we can compete on a level playing field, with all of our foreign competitors playing by the established rules," company spokeswoman Kristine Vernier said.

U.S. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown hailed the decision, which he said would help restore a level playing field for the century-old American manufacturer.

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