The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) found on Thursday that imports of large residential washing machines harmed domestic producers, a step toward the imposition of broad duties on foreign-made Samsung- and LG-brand machines.
The case, brought by U.S. Whirlpool, sought "global safeguard" restrictions to stop South Korean rivals Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics from flooding the U.S. market with cheaper washers.
The commission concluded that the large number of imports was hurting domestic manufacturers, will recommend remedies by Dec. 4 to President Donald Trump, who is expected to make a final decision by early next year.
Whirlpool Chairman Jeff Fettig said the decision was another vindication in the company's years-long anti-dumping battle with Samsung and LG, in which he had accused them of moving production around the world in order to avoid U.S. duties.
Samsung and LG both issued statements saying that import curbs would hurt consumers by raising prices, limiting choice and stifling innovation.
"We are disappointed with the International Trade Commission's decision to find injury. Restrictions on imports of Samsung washing machines will negatively affect American consumers by limiting choices, raising prices, and offering less innovative washing machines," Samsung said.
"We remain committed to establishing our North American home appliance manufacturing facility in South Carolina and to delivering the most innovative washing machines, made by Americans, and sold to American consumers. We urge the Commission to consider carefully how potential remedies might hinder the establishment and operations of this facility and affect American consumers," samsung added.
LG accused Whirlpool of using U.S. trade laws to restrain an innovative competitor.
"Soon, competition in the washer market will not be about domestic vs. foreign production," LG said its statement. "It will be about competition among washers made in the United States, in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina."