Brown Takes on Unfair Trade Against Ohio Whirlpool Workers at International Trade Commission

Brown Toured Whirlpool’s Clyde Plant Last Week, Met Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) testified on behalf of Ohio Whirlpool workers in a trade case at the International Trade Commission (ITC). Brown has worked to level the playing field for Whirlpool workers by cracking down on countries that unfairly import their products into the U.S. at the expense of American workers.  

“Last week, I toured Whirlpool’s washing machine factory in Clyde. I saw how the company has invested in their washing machine line to try to keep up with the surging volume of cheap Samsung and LG imports,” said Brown. “I talked to workers who know their good-paying jobs hang in the balance with this trade case. And I saw the American flags stamped on Whirlpool’s machines rolling off the production line. That’s what this case is about. It’s about the Ohioans whose hard work means that you and I can buy a washing machine with that American flag on it.”

Today’s case seeks 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. Since 2012, Brown and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 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. Brown had called on ITC to make this ruling and testified at the case’s final hearing in December 2016. Brown visited the plant last week.  

Brown’s legislation, the Leveling the Playing Field Act, signed into law in June 2015, has restored strength to antidumping and countervailing duty statutes that allow businesses and workers in the U.S. 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.

 

Testimony of Senator Sherrod Brown

U.S. International Trade Commission Hearing on

Large Residential Washers

Investigation No. TA-201-76

September 7, 2017

 

Chairman Schmidtlein, and members of the Commission, thank you for the opportunity to testify in this case regarding large residential washers.

This is now the third time I’ve come to the ITC to testify on behalf of Whirlpool and its Ohio workers, including workers from Clyde. I know some of them are here today.

It’s beginning to feel like that movie Groundhog Day.

Each time I’m here, I tell you how important Whirlpool is to the American manufacturing sector – they have nine plants and 25,000 workers in the U.S. 

I tell you how important the company is to Ohio – they have 10,000 workers in the state. 

And I tell you how important the washing machine factory and its 3,000 jobs are to the community of Clyde.

Each time, you make the right decision, and each time, that doesn’t stop Whirlpool’s foreign competitors from cheating.

And that’s why we’re here today.   

I’m sure I will repeat part of my testimony from the previous cases, but I hope that’s where Groundhog Day ends.

After two successful trade cases and Samsung and LG’s most recent efforts to evade the trade laws, Whirlpool is filing a Section 201 trade case.

As the Commission knows, a Section 201 case provides a broader remedy than the antidumping cases the company has filed in the past.

Whirlpool has no choice but to file this case because Samsung and LG have moved production to other countries to get around higher tariffs from the previous two cases.

Samsung and LG are doing everything they can to put Whirlpool out of business so they can dominate the U.S. washers market. 

American companies can’t be expected to chase their cheating competitors all around the globe with new trade cases. And the only way to stop these companies from putting Whirlpool out of business is a Section 201 case.

Last week, I toured Whirlpool’s washing machine factory in Clyde. I saw how the company has invested in their washing machine line to try to keep up with the surging volume of cheap Samsung and LG imports.

I talked to workers who know their good-paying jobs hang in the balance with this trade case.

And I saw the American flags stamped on Whirlpool’s machines rolling off the production line. 

That’s what this case is about. It’s about supporting companies like Whirlpool and their workers who make things here in the U.S. Who do the right thing. It’s about the Ohioans whose hard work means that you and I can buy a washing machine with that American flag on it.

There’s plenty of evidence that the U.S. washer sector is being seriously injured. The Commission already knows the consequences the imports have had on the domestic sector.  You’ve documented it well in the previous cases, and it only gotten worse.

We have to stop this game of whack-a-mole and put an end to this Groundhog Day nightmare. If we don’t, Whirlpool will continue to struggle against a flood of imports, and the workers in Clyde will continue to worry whether they’ll have a job next year.

Groundhog Day is a lot less funny when it’s your job that’s put at risk over and over and over again.

As I said in my last testimony, these workers make the best washing machines in the world. Their jobs are the backbone of Clyde, and of communities across our country. Failure to hold our trading partners accountable and to protect these jobs will threaten the U.S. washer industry, the middle class jobs it creates, and the communities that depend on it.

Failing to provide relief will send a signal to the world that the United States is not serious when it comes to enforcing our trade laws – that we’ll continue to roll over and let industry after industry be gobbled up by competitors who cheat.

I urged the Commission to find that the domestic washing machine industry is seriously injured and recommend a remedy that would provide the U.S. appliance industry and its workers the relief from the surging volume of cheap imports that they deserve. 

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