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STEEL DUTIES COULD IMPACT PRICING.

WASHINGTON-That commercial-style range and perhaps the pot on its surface may cost consumers more next year.

The United States International Trade Commission has imposed duties as high as 59 percent on eight nations' stainless-steel exports to the United States. Foreigners share about 80 percent of the American market. The three large American steel producers who claimed substantial harm from the low-cost imports reportedly advised customers they'll respond with 7-percent price increases on stainless-steel sheet and strip in coils, a component in appliances and cookware.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers declined comment because its members, who make major and small appliances, took diverse positions. Some large producers said it was too early to say because they had to evaluate their supplies.

KitchenAid's Brian Maynard said Whirlpool Corp. manufactures around the world and buys steel globally, "so we don't expect the recent duties to have a significant effect." Thermador buys most of its steel domestically because "the quality isn't there" from overseas, said an official. She anticipated American suppliers will raise their prices.

Industry officials said small appliances and cookware use minimal quantities of steel and frequently make products outside the United States. They were more concerned about imports of finished goods.

The eight nations are Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain and Mexico. The United States reached agreement with Brazil on quantities and prices, and is negotiating with Russia.

David Hartquist, an attorney at Collier Shannon Rill & Scott here, said "the International Trade Commission determined the domestic steel industry was being injured as a result of unfair trade practices, and its profitability had suffered substantially because of foreign dumping and government subsidization." He litigated on behalf of the Specialty Steel Industry of North America.
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Author:Porter, Thyra; Beatty, Gerry
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 19, 1999
Words:287
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