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Trump's Trade Adviser Accuses Samsung And LG Of Unfair Trade Practices

By March 7, 2017 at 7:52 am
US President Donald Trump has vowed to renegotiate his country’s trade deals, including its free-trade agreement with South Korea. (Photo : The Hill)

A trade adviser to US President Donald Trump on Monday accused South Korea's biggest companies Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics of unfair trade practices that hurt rival American electronics companies such as Whirlpool.

Peter Navarro, head of the White House National Trade Council, said both Samsung and LG have engaged in so-called "country hopping" where they try to evade anti-dumping tariffs by moving their manufacturing bases.

The naming of the two South Korean companies raises new concerns that Washington is exerting trade pressure on Seoul as Trump had promised to do during the presidential election campaign. Trump has vowed to renegotiate his country's trade deals, including its free-trade agreement with Korea.

Speaking at the National Association of Business Economics conference, Navarro said that US companies are having a hard time competing on a level playing field when rivals practice country hopping as Samsung and LG had done, where they simply move their production to another country every time Whirlpool wins anti-dumping cases against the two South Korean firms.

In a report by Yonhap News Agency, Navarro reiterated this kind of trade cheating must be stopped. He cited Whirlpool's case where Samsung and LG have done country hopping twice by moving from China to Vietnam and Thailand. 

He added that the practice undermines the whole international order, and at the expense of thousands of American jobs. US companies like Whirlpool also suffer millions of dollars of losses as a result.
Samsung and LG are engaged in a trilateral competition with Whirlpool in the US home appliance market.

In January, the US International Trade Commission imposed anti-dumping duties of 52.51 percent and 32.12 percent on Samsung and LG, respectively, ruling that their washing machines manufactured in China were sold at lower than "normal" prices in the US market and hurt local suppliers like Whirlpool, according to a report by The Korea Times.

It is unusual for a White House to openly criticize foreign companies, but Navarro pointed out that trade deficits also undermine national security.  

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