UPDATE 1-U.S. commission calls for tariff-rate quota on Samsung, LG washer imports

imports@ (Adds specifics on tariff rate and context)

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday called for a tariff-rate quota on imported Samsung and LG brand washers after appliance giant Whirlpool Corp urged the imposition of "global safeguard" limits on its South Korean rivals to stop them from flooding the American market with cheap machines.

The ITC recommended that a graduated tariff rate be placed on washing machines if imports exceeded 1.2 million units over the next three years, with the rate starting at 50 percent in the first year and sliding down to 40 percent in the third year.

The panel was split on whether the United States should impose tariffs if manufacturers imported fewer than 1.2 million units.

President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision on the recommendation by early next year. Lawmakers from South Carolina, where Samsung is building a manufacturing plant, had written to the ITC to ask for remedies not to be too severe.

The ITC found last month that surging imports of large residential washing machines harmed domestic producers, although it did not find that washers made specifically in South Korea, already subject to anti-dumping duties, were responsible for harming U.S. manufacturers. (Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by David Lawder; editing by David Gregorio and Cynthia Osterman)