Executive Briefings

Foreign Firms Rush Washers, Solar Panels Into U.S. Amid Trade Fears

Foreign makers of such products as washing machines and solar panels are ramping up shipments to the U.S. ahead of government decisions on whether to erect new barriers, trade data show.

The influx of goods comes after companies including appliance giant Whirlpool Corp. and solar-panel maker Suniva Inc. asked the Trump administration in recent months to use powers under a controversial trade law that gives the president wide discretion on tariffs and quotas.

The two cases are among the early tests of President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade policy and his pledges to help U.S. manufacturers and factory workers.

Ships brought 9,063 containers’ worth of large residential washers to U.S. ports in November, more than double the previous year’s clip, a month after American regulators sided with Whirlpool in a dispute with South Korean rivals Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., according to an analysis of customs and U.S. Census Bureau data from research firm Panjiva. Samsung and LG had a combined 35-percent share of the retail U.S. washer market last year, roughly equal to Whirlpool’s.

Myles Getlan, an attorney for Whirlpool, said recent import levels were a sign that competitors were stockpiling washers. “It has the potential to undermine the effectiveness of any remedy that the president could impose,” he said.

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The influx of goods comes after companies including appliance giant Whirlpool Corp. and solar-panel maker Suniva Inc. asked the Trump administration in recent months to use powers under a controversial trade law that gives the president wide discretion on tariffs and quotas.

The two cases are among the early tests of President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade policy and his pledges to help U.S. manufacturers and factory workers.

Ships brought 9,063 containers’ worth of large residential washers to U.S. ports in November, more than double the previous year’s clip, a month after American regulators sided with Whirlpool in a dispute with South Korean rivals Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., according to an analysis of customs and U.S. Census Bureau data from research firm Panjiva. Samsung and LG had a combined 35-percent share of the retail U.S. washer market last year, roughly equal to Whirlpool’s.

Myles Getlan, an attorney for Whirlpool, said recent import levels were a sign that competitors were stockpiling washers. “It has the potential to undermine the effectiveness of any remedy that the president could impose,” he said.

Read Full Article