Prediction: Ripple Effect of Trump’s Tariff on Imported Washers in The US

April 2018

Trump administration’s decision to issue tariff on large washing machines (washers) is expected to create a significant influence on industry players as well as consumers. Washer manufacturers importing products outside the US are expected to face a significant price disadvantage as compared to US manufacturers whose production plants are mostly based in the US. There is growing concern outside the washer industry as well on potential tariff on other industries.

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The consequences of US tariffs on imported washers

In the short-term, price increases and loss of share are inevitable for non-US manufacturers, until the process of local sourcing and production is settled. Korean manufacturers, which have shown rapid growth in the US, will see the most negative impact.

US manufacturers should recover share

US manufacturers such as Whirlpool Corp will be able to recover share from non-US manufacturers to a certain extent. Consumers will have fewer options available in washers, especially low income households. This will lead to a slow down of the market, as some consumers will not be able to afford the higher prices. The recession in washing machines is likely to be transferred to correlated appliance industries, such as fridge freezers or cookers.

the strategy for industry players moving forward

To avoid shrinking profit margins, non-US manufacturers could focus more on middle and high-income households, which are more willing to spend money to save time and make their lives easier, compared with the past. Quality family time, along with leisure, is becoming increasingly important, and products equipped with the technology to address these needs will convince them to pay a premium.

Competitiveness is the key

US manufacturers will lose the luxury of having an upper-hand on price-competitiveness fairly quickly, as the shift of production plants by non-US manufacturers is already happening. They will need to improve their product competitiveness in the long run.

potential tariffs on other appliances and impact on the global economy

The next target appliance industry for potential tariffs, if any, is likely to be refrigeration appliances, in which the recent growth of non-US manufacturers is notable. In response to tariffs on imports to the US, the governments of major economies are considering retaliation tariffs on US imports to their own countries. This could potentially trigger trade wars.In a trade war scenario the global economy will stagnate, as trade transactions shrink and consumer demand contracts.

Spotlight Report

This report will address the questions below


A long fight over washers in the US
The tariff will pose a serious disadvantage to non-US manufacturers

Implications FOR major industry players

Korean manufacturers, which have grown rapidly, will be most affected (1)
Korean manufacturers, which have grown rapidly, will be most affected (2)

study From A past similar case: Anti-dumping/Countervailing Duty on Washers Imported from Korea and Mexico in 2013

Whirlpool’s growth recovers after the 2013 tariff
Non-US manufacturers will need to give in; to a greater extent this time

Implications FOR consumers and market demand

Price increases will limit affordability, resulting in declining growth

Future strategy for non-us manufacturers

Non-US manufacturers could focus on premium and cutting-edge tech

Future strategy for us manufacturers

US manufacturers need to improve their product offerings

Future forecast: Any potential tariffs on other appliance industries

The next target, if any within appliances, could be fridge-freezers

Future forecast: reaction of other countries and implications FOR THE global economy

A trade war could potentially break out, and no-one will win

Conclusion AND recommendations



Anti-dumping/countervailing duty and safeguard tariffs on washers


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