DOC Rules Against Paper Importers

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) imposed preliminary countervailing duties (CVD) on imported coated paper from China and Indonesia to offset subsidies from those governments. Chinese coated paper companies were assessed duties ranging from 3.92 to 12.83 percent, while Indonesia importers were socked with a 17.48 percent duty.

Appleton Coated LLC, NewPage Corp. and Sappi Fine Paper North America, along with the United Steelworkers (USW), filed unfair trade cases last September with the DOC and the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging that certain coated paper from China and Indonesia had been dumped and subsidized, resulting in injury to the domestic industry and its employees.

The paper products covered by the petitions include coated paper used in high-quality writing, printing and other graphic applications, with a GE brightness rating of 80 or higher and weighing up to 340 gsm.

“The Department of Commerce’s preliminary decision is welcome news to U.S. coated fine paper companies, workers and the communities in which we operate. The decision validates our allegations of subsidies that have injured the industry,” said Mark Gardner, president and CEO of Sappi Fine Paper North America. “All we’re seeking is fair competition and protection against those companies not making investments in sustainable practices.”

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), a major exporter of coated paper from China and Indonesia, expressed disappointment with the initial findings. “This is a disappointing preliminary decision,” said Terry Hunley, acting president, APP Americas, “but it is a long process and the Commerce Department is still gathering and analyzing all the facts. At the end of the day we expect a significant improvement in these preliminary subsidy findings, and confirmation again that the U.S. industry has not been injured and is therefore not entitled to any special protection.”

In a similar case brought by U.S. paper manufacturers several few years ago, the U.S. International Trade Commission blocked final duties from going into effect.

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