China Socked With Coated Paper Tariffs

WASHINGTON, DC—Penalty tariffs ranging from 10.9 percent to 20.4 percent will now be levied on imports of glossy paper from China, the U.S. Commerce Department announced. Lesser tariffs were levied against South Korea and Indonesia.

The tariffs result from a case filed by NewPage, of Dayton, OH, which accused sources in those three countries of dumping coated free sheet imports into the United States. Chinese suppliers, NewPage contended, had been receiving improper subsidies from the Chinese government, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that U.S. coated paper imports from China were roughly $224 million in 2006, compared to only $29 million in 2004.

The tariffs take place on a preliminary basis and will become final after the Commerce Department’s review is completed in June, acording to the AP.

This decision ends a 23-year-old U.S. policy of not applying duties to subsidized goods from economies such as China that are seen as nonmarket. The action signifies that the Commerce Department no longer views China in such a light.

The measures are part of a larger context that sees the Bush Administration putting its foot down against the widening trade deficit with China, which reached $232.5 billion in 2006.

The United States filed two complaints against China with the World Trade Organization: One seeks the lessening of restrictions on distribution of American music, film and literature in China. Another asks China to better police the trafficking of pirated U.S. materials that have been targets of counterfeiting. On the latter count, the U.S. government feels China has set “excessively high thresholds” for launching criminal prosecutions against the producers and distributors of purloined products.

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