Trade Commission Votes to Proceed with Investigation of Coated Paper Imports

WASHINGTON, DC—Nov. 6, 2009—-Appleton Coated LLC, NewPage Corp., and Sappi Fine Paper North America – together with the United Steelworkers (USW) — applauded the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for its preliminary determination and unanimous vote today to proceed with a full investigation of coated paper imports from China and Indonesia.

The companies and the USW filed unfair trade cases on Sept. 23 with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the ITC 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 using sheet-fed presses with a GE brightness rating of 80 or higher up and weighing to 340 grams per square meter.

“Today’s vote is an important step in our quest to restore a level playing field,” said Mark Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Sappi Fine Paper North America. “Fair competition requires all companies, both domestic and international, to abide by the trade laws and to make investments in sustainable practices.”

The ITC’s action follows the Oct. 13 decision by the Commerce Department to open its investigation on the filings.

The petitions filed by the companies and the USW estimate that total imports of covered coated paper skyrocketed by nearly 40 percent during the first six months of 2009 compared with a similar period of time in 2008. During the same period, shipments of paper covered by the domestic manufacturers’ petitions are estimated to have declined by approximately 38 percent. China and Indonesia together almost doubled their share of the U.S. market over the same period and now are believed to account for nearly 30 percent of the U.S. market.

“We’re prepared to compete with anyone on fair terms. But the dumping and subsidy practices of China and Indonesia undermine our ability to produce and jeopardize our employees and the communities in which they live,” stated Rick Willett, president and chief executive officer of NewPage Corporation. “The advantages domestic producers enjoy from abundant, well-managed forest resources, energy and raw materials, as well as lower transportation and logistics costs aren’t enough to compete against the unfair trade practices of some of our Indonesian and Chinese competitors. They just aren’t competing fairly.”

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