McMillan again testifies in support of LG
Hearing sets stage for potential sanctions in trade dispute
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Kim McMillan testified Wednesday to the Office of the United States Trade Representative in support of LG Electronics Inc., a South Korean manufacturer that broke ground in August 2017 on a $250 million appliance plant in Clarksville.
“I respectfully ask the Trump Administration not to impose any measures that will interfere with the expedited implementation of LG’s investment in Tennessee,” Mayor McMillan told trade commissioners.
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett also testified in support of LG at the hearing.
In October, the U.S. International Trade Commission determined in a safeguard investigation prompted by Whirlpool Corp. that large residential washers being imported into the United States by LG and Samsung are damaging the domestic industry producing similar items.
Whirlpool alleged that Samsung and LG pursued a strategy of selling washing machines in the U.S. at artificially low prices, claiming South Korean companies would move production work between Asian countries to do an “end run” around U.S. anti-dumping laws.
LG and Samsung, which also is building a domestic washing machine plant in South Carolina, have called Whirlpool’s complaint an effort to restrain competition. The S. Korean companies also claim trade restrictions would hurt American consumers and impair U.S. job creation.
Wednesday’s hearing in Washington, D.C., was part of the federal process to recommend a remedy or safeguard measure for President Trump to apply. He is expected to issue a ruling in the next few weeks.
Here are Mayor McMillan’s full remarks to the Trade Policy Staff Committee:
“Throughout my time in public service, I have seen firsthand how trade policy can influence ordinary citizens’ lives. As mayor, I witnessed a newly completed $1.2 billion plant close because of global trade disputes. I have witnessed 500 constituents lose their jobs due to nothing of their making. I witnessed millions of dollars in public incentives and years of planning deteriorate due to matters completely out of our control.
“That is why I am so concerned with this safeguard case. LG and the City of Clarksville have worked hand-in-hand to make sure we build the world’s most advanced washing machine plant in Tennessee. This process took over six years and Tennessee vied with eight other states.
“In Clarksville, we encourage foreign investment and do everything we can to promote our business-friendly environment. Construction on the new factory is moving quickly, and when this plant is completed, LG washing machines will be Tennessee-made products, and that is something we are extremely excited about.
“We as a government should not do anything that discourages domestic manufacturing in America. We should let consumers decide very soon whether they want to buy a washing machine built in Tennessee or South Carolina or Ohio or Kentucky. This is what the free market is about.
“I respectfully ask the Trump Administration not to impose any measures that will interfere with the expedited implementation of LG’s investment in Tennessee. Switching from imports to domestically produced washers cannot happen overnight. During the transition, restrictions on LG imports can be counterproductive. LG needs to preserve its customer base during the transition so there are retailers ready to take the Tennessee-produced washers. Good manufacturing jobs – American jobs, Tennessee jobs, Clarksville jobs – are in jeopardy here.”
Potential actions President Trump may take to provide a remedy include:
* Imposition, or increase, of a duty on the imported articles in question.
* Use of a tariff-rate quota.
* Modification or imposition of any quantitative restriction on the importation of the articles into the United States.
*Other negotiations to identify the underlying cause of the increased imports to alleviate the injury or threat.
* Legislative proposals that would provide positive adjustments.