U.S. Department of Commerce orders duties on Canadian paper imports

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015

The U.S. Department of Commerce has issued a final order that countervailing duties be placed on supercalendered paper from Canada that’s imported into the United States, said U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine in a news release.

The final order follows a decision by the department last month to impose the duties at rates of 18 to 20 percent.

Madison Paper Industries and Verso Corp., U.S. paper producers that are expected to benefit from the duties on the Canadian paper, applauded the order. The companies, which together formed the Coalition for Fair Paper Imports, filed a complaint in February asking for the duties in response to unfair subsidies given by Nova Scotia to the province’s Port Hawkesbury Paper.

The order imposes tariffs of 20.18 percent on imports of supercalendered paper from Port Hawkesbury; 17.87 percent for Resolute Paper Industries; and 18.85 percent on Irving Pulp and Paper and Catalyst Paper Corp.

The order is “welcome news” for Madison Paper employees who have fought provincial subsidies like those provided to the Port Hawkesbury mill, the senators said in Friday’s release. “The duties levied on companies that have been found to receive illegal and unfair trade advantages will help even the playing field in this important segment of the paper market.”

The senators also expressed concern for how the Department of Commerce conducts investigations into unfair trade practices, since the new Canadian subsidies could endanger other jobs in Maine, at J.D. Irving and Catalyst’s Rumford mill.

Those companies also produce supercalendered paper in Canada and will be taxed on imports coming into the U.S. even though they have not been found to have received illegal subsidies.

“Rather than conduct a careful assessment of the actual subsidies received by each company, the department relied on Port Hawkesbury’s and Resolute’s subsidies to determine an arbitrary and unfair duty rate for Irving and Catalyst,” the release said.

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