Whirlpool’s $1.7 billion acquisition of Maytag, a storied Iowa brand of home appliances, offers a fascinating window into international trade and tariffs. At the time of the 2006 deal, Whirlpool was the largest appliance maker in the United States. Maytag was its biggest competitor. Together, they built about half of all washing machines sold in the U.S.
Federal regulators worried about their new dominance, but the company said foreign competition, primarily from South Korea’s Samsung and LG, would keep Whirlpool’s market clout in check. That certainly occurred.