WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) sent a letter to the International Trade Commission (ITC) urging them to support the extension of the current washing machine safeguard. Brown and Portman have fought against unfair trade practices that have harmed Whirlpool. In 2012, Brown and Portman sent a letter urging the Commerce Department to defend Whirlpool, which returned all production to the United States in 2008. Brown and Portman also provided testimony to the ITC on three separate occasions on behalf of Whirlpool.  In response to evidence of foreign companies dumping their washers in the U.S. market, the ITC heeded the senators’ concerns and penalized those foreign companies with anti-dumping tariffs. Most recently, the senators testified before the ITC in June of 2019 in support of continuing the Section 201 safeguard to level the playing field for Ohio’s Whirlpool workers.

Brown and Portman worked together on the Enforce and Protect Act and the Leveling the Playing Field Act, legislation that is paying dividends for Ohio’s workers, 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.  

“For almost a decade, we have fought to support the washing machine industry in the United States on behalf of our 10,000 constituents employed by Whirlpool Corporation at their five locations throughout Ohio. After many trade cases, and repeated country hopping by foreign producers, we were pleased with the Commission’s safeguard determination in December 2017… We believe that for the safeguard to reach its intended effect, and for the industry to continue to invest in its people, plants, and products, the safeguard remedy should be extended,” wrote the senators. “We urge you to thoughtfully consider Whirlpool’s request to extend and strengthen the safeguard to maximize its benefits for the domestic industry and its workers, and thank you for your steadfast support of American jobs.” 

The full letter can be found below and here.

Dear Chair Kearns:  

For almost a decade, we have fought to support the washing machine industry in the United States on behalf of our 10,000 constituents employed by Whirlpool Corporation at their five locations throughout Ohio. After many trade cases, and repeated country hopping by foreign producers, we were pleased with the Commission’s safeguard determination in December 2017.

As a result of the safeguard, we have seen the domestic industry begin to return to a competitive footing. This has included investments in facilities and personnel, as well as taking steps towards launching new and innovative products.

Unfortunately, imports of millions of washers by foreign competitors combined with the economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, have limited the efficacy of the safeguard. We believe that for the safeguard to reach its intended effect, and for the industry to continue to invest in its people, plants, and products, the safeguard remedy should be extended. Moreover, because the safeguard remedy as currently implemented is working, the tariff rate quota should be liberalized only very modestly over the course of the extension.

Doing so will be critical for Ohio. Whirlpool Corporation employs 3,000 workers making washing machines in Clyde, and another 7,000 spread across facilities in Marion, Findley, Ottawa, and Greenville. The extension and modification of the safeguard is crucial for the economic, social, and civic health of each of these communities.

We urge you to thoughtfully consider Whirlpool’s request to extend and strengthen the safeguard to maximize its benefits for the domestic industry and its workers, and thank you for your steadfast support of American jobs.

Sincerely,

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