The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today as the U.S. Commerce Department determined that dumping of coated paper is likely to continue or recur if existing tariffs are revoked and as the U.S. International Trade Commission tomorrow considers whether unfairly traded uncoated paper imports are injuring American industry, a determination that could lead to duties:
"The USW is fighting for every job in the paper sector. These are good, family-supporting jobs that have created a path to the middle class for tens of thousands of Americans," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "The USW is defending these workers against unfair and illegal trade practices by companies and countries across the globe that if left unchecked would destroy the American paper industry and American jobs."
In the coated paper case, the Commerce Department extended duties charged to the heavy-weight, often glossy paper imported from Indonesia and China. It set penalties on coated paper from Indonesia at 20.13 percent and from China at 135.84 percent.
In the case of uncoated paper, the matte-finish sheet type typically used in copy machines, the USW and four U.S. paper companies are asking the ITC to impose penalties against unfairly traded imports from China, Indonesia, Brazil, Portugal and Australia.
The USW and other petitioners will show that this paper is being dumped on the U.S. market, which means it is sold here at a price below what it costs to produce or what it is sold for in the home country.
In addition, the USW and the paper companies are asking in this case for additional penalties against imports of this paper from China and Indonesia because of illegal government subsidies.
The ITC will determine whether the unfair and illegal trade caused sufficient injury to American paper companies to meet the standards required by law to impose penalties. The four manufacturers that filed the uncoated case with the USW in January of 2014 are Domtar Corp., Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), Finch Paper LLC, and P.H. Glatfelter Co.
"The uncoated paper industry and its workers have suffered from unfairly traded imports for far too long. We will urge the ITC to give U.S. paper industry workers the lifeline they so desperately need," said Leeann Foster, assistant to the USW International President, who will testify at the uncoated hearing.
"The flood of unfairly traded imports since 2012 has taken an enormous toll on our domestic industry and its workers. In all, eight uncoated mills have closed or shut down machines since 2012, destroying thousands of jobs. For each of those jobs, six others are lost in the community because of the powerful impact of the industry in the economy."
USW International Vice President Jon Geenen noted that governments may subsidize industries when the products are sold domestically, but trade law forbids export of subsidized products because their falsely low prices distort the market and damage foreign industry.
"The ITC's decision will be the key to ensuring that fair prices can be restored to the market and that our members will have the chance to compete," said Geenen. "Today they're fighting for their jobs against dumped and subsidized products. Essentially, they're not only having to compete against foreign companies, but also foreign countries which often subsidize producers to expand exports and retain jobs.
"The ITC hearing on uncoated paper is one part of the union's broader battle for jobs in this sector. Fighting unfair trade in the paper sector is like playing whack-a-mole. Foreign competitors try to dump and subsidize their exports into the American market product by product. We intend to swing the mallet every time they cheat."
In addition to these two cases, the USW is continuing to actively monitor imports of other paper products to determine whether evidence exists that would support additional trade cases. The USW is also meeting with members of Congress and the Administration to discuss overcapacity in paper production in China, which prompts dumping in the U.S. market, and other issues that threaten the jobs of U.S. paper workers.
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.
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