|22 Jan 2018||Definitive duty|
|13 Jun 2017||Initiation|
ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYYes
On January 22, 2018, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that President Trump has approved recommendations to impose safeguard tariffs on imported residential washing machines (as well as solar cells and modules), based on the investigations, findings, and recommendations of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC). The restrictions will be imposed for three years on the following schedule:
Tariff-Rate Quotas on Washers
20% on the first 1.2 million units of imported finished washers; 50% on all subsequent imports of finished washers; 50% tariff on covered parts after the first 50,000 units
18% on the first 1.2 million units of imported finished washers; 45% on all subsequent imports of finished washers; 45% tariff on covered parts after the first 70,000 units
16% on the first 1.2 million units of imported finished washers; 40% on all subsequent imports of finished washers; 40% tariff on covered parts after the first 90,000 units
The restrictions came into effect on February 7, 2018.
Together with the solar cells and modules case, this is the first time that the United States has resorted to the global safeguard since invoking that "escape clause" in a 2001 steel case. The restrictions imposed then, like nearly all other uses of the safeguard by all countries since the World Trade Organization came into existence in 1995, was found in a WTO dispute-settlement panel to have violated the terms of the WTO Agreement on Safeguards. It is widely expected that this latest case will lead to a similar challenge. If that challenge is successful (as is widely expected), the United States will need to decide if it will comply with its WTO obligations by bringing these restrictions to an end. Taking into accouint the usual pace of such cases, this finding might reasonably be expected while the restrictions are in their second year.
This case began on June 13, 2017 when the USITC initiated a safeguard investigation of large residential washers. This investigation came in response to a petition filed by the Whirlpool Corporation. The commission determined that this investigation is “extraordinarily complicated,” and would make its injury determination by October 5, 2017.
On October 5, 2017 the commission determined that these washers are being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic industry producing an article like or directly competitive with the imported article. The vote was 4-0.
On November 21, 2017 the commission announced the remedy recommendations that it will forward to the president. The Commissioners unanimously recommend a tariff-rate quota (TRQ) on imports of large residential washers for a duration of three years. For U.S. imports of large residential washers that exceed 1.2 million units, the Commissioners recommend a tariff rate of 50 percent ad valorem, in addition to the current rate of duty. They recommend that the in-quota volume remain constant throughout and that the above-quota tariff rate decrease by five percentage points during each year of the remedy period. Chairman Schmidtlein and Commissioner Williamson additionally recommend an in-quota tariff rate of 20 percent ad valorem, which would decrease to 18 percent in the second year of the remedy period and 15 percent in the third year of the period, in addition to the current rate of duty. Vice Chairman Johanson and Commissioner Broadbent do not recommend an in-quota tariff rate for large residential washers.
The commissioners also unanimously recommend that the President impose a separate TRQ on imports of covered parts of large residential washers for a duration of three years. For U.S. imports of covered parts that exceed 50,000 units, they recommend a tariff rate of 50 percent ad valorem, in addition to the current rate of duty. They recommend that the in-quota volume increase by 20,000 units in each year of the remedy period, and that the above-quota tariff rate decrease by five percentage points each year.
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