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U.S. sets final duties on Mexico, South Korea washers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday set final anti-dumping duties on about $1 billion worth of residential washing machines from Mexico and South Korea in a case brought by American manufacturer Whirlpool.

The department said Mexican manufacturers were "dumping" the washers in the United States at prices 36.52 to 72.41 percent below fair market value and set duties accordingly.

It said South Korean producers were undercutting prices by 9.29 to 82.41 percent. The department also set countervailing duties of 0.01 to 72.30 on the South Korean washers to offset government subsidies it found in its investigation.

"This decision is an important victory for our 22,000 dedicated U.S. employees, the consumers we serve and the U.S. appliance industry," Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool's North America Region, said in a statement.

The duties were largely in line with preliminary levels announced earlier this year.

South Korean producers Daewoo, LG Electronics Inc, and Samsung were found to be dumping at prices 82.41 percent, 13.02 percent, and 9.29 percent, respectively, below fair market value.

Daewoo, which the Commerce Department said failed to cooperate in the investigation, was also hit with a 72.03 percent countervailing duty, while the two other companies received rates of below two percent.

Mexican producers Electrolux, Samsung Electronics Mexico and Whirlpool International received final anti-dumping duties of 36.52 percent, 72.41 percent, and 72.41 percent, respectively.

Whirlpool has previously said that it had stopped shipping washers from Mexico for sale in the United States and therefore would not have to pay any duties.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) must give final approval for duties to go into force. That vote is expected on Feb 1.

In another recent case involving Whirlpool, the Commerce Department awarded steep duties on refrigerator imports from Mexico and South Korea, but the ITC voted in April to block them from being imposed.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Sandra Maler and David Brunnstrom)

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