South Korean Fridges Frozen By EU Antidumping Duties

Daewoo and LG Electronics accused of selling refrigerators below cost.

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) – South Korean manufacturers Daewoo Electronics Corp. and LG Electronics Corp. had antidumping duties levied on some of their refrigerators by the European Union (EU) on Thursday who said that they were hurting European manufacturers by selling goods below cost.

Daewoo will be charged a 3.4 percent duty and LG Electronics 12.2 percent on their two-door side-by-side refrigerators with separate doors for fresh food and freezer compartments. 

The duties will take effect on Friday and can remain in place for up to five years.

The EU exempted Samsung Electronics Corp. saying it had not beefed up imports as fast as the other manufacturers and had actually lost market share during the period under investigation.

According to the EU, approximately 180,000 and 250,000 refrigerators had been dumped on the European market between 2002 and 2005.

The EU said the volume of dumped imports increased by 266 percent over that period, allowing the South Korean firms to gain up to a 50 percent market share.

Average prices fell five percent while the South Koreans undercut European manufacturers, such as Electrolux AB and Siemens AG,  by between 34.4 percent and 42 percent.

The EU narrowed its original investigation, dismissing claims from an unnamed ''exporting producer'' that it should levy duties on all large capacity South Korean fridge-freezers,  including those with a freezer base and a refrigerator on top.

The Financial Times reported last month that EU officials had turned down such a request from U.S.-based Whirlpool Corp. because these refrigerators were not made in Europe and so below-cost imports could not damage European manufacturers. Whirlpool imports these refrigerators to Europe from the U.S.


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