WASHINGTON — Whirlpool Corp., the world’s largest appliance maker, is being harmed by low-cost refrigerators from Mexico and South Korea, a US trade panel ruled, paving the way for tariffs on those imports.
The US International Trade Commission voted 5 to 0 in Washington yesterday in a preliminary ruling on the petition by Whirlpool to get antidumping and countervailing duties imposed on so-called bottom-mount refrigerators made by Samsung Electronics Co. or LG Electronics Inc. in the two nations.
LG said it will “aggressively contest’’ the decision.
The decision is the first of four the US company must win before tariffs of as much as 183 percent are imposed.
A spokeswoman for Samsung didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking a response.
“This unanimous decision by the ITC validates the action we’ve taken to protect our 23,000 US employees and the communities in which they work,’’ Jill Saletta, a spokeswoman for Whirlpool, said in a statement.