WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Thursday extended “safeguard” tariffs on large residential washers for another two years in a move that further shields domestic manufacturers such as Whirlpool Corp from import competition.
The tariffs imposed in January 2018 were among the first that Trump imposed in his “America First” trade push, along with duties on solar panels, steel aluminum and Chinese goods.
The washer tariffs, imposed under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, were designed to shield American manufacturers from import surges for three years and were originally due to expire on Feb. 8.
The independent U.S. International Trade Commission determined in November that import relief was still necessary for domestic firms, clearing the way for Trump to do so as one of his final trade acts.
The “tariff rate quota” safeguards on washers impose levies of 20% to 40%, depending on import volumes, but exclude machines made in Canada.
In the months before Trump imposed the tariffs, South Korean producers Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, which had battled U.S. anti-dumping tariffs for years, made commitments to open washer factories in the United States.
In a statement, Whirlpool applauded the extension, saying the move “culminates a nearly decade-long effort by Whirlpool Corporation to help ensure free and fair trade policies that benefit both our consumers and our 15,000 U.S. employees at our nine manufacturing sites across the country.”
(Reporting by David Lawder, Lisa Lambert and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Leslie Adler and Sam Holmes)