Packaging materials: U.S. Commerce Dept. announces final coated-paper duty margins

David Bellm

March 11, 2015

4 Min Read
Packaging materials: U.S. Commerce Dept. announces final coated-paper duty margins

Suppliers in the paper industry are welcoming the Department of Commerce's announcement of final antidumping and countervailing duty margins on coated paper imports from China and Indonesia.

Appleton Coated LLC, NewPage Corporation, and Sappi Fine Paper North America – together with the United Steelworkers (USW) -- have issued the following statement in a press release on September 20:

Today's announcement of final antidumping and countervailing duty margins sets out the tariffs that will be applied to unfairly traded imports of coated paper from China and Indonesia that benefited from subsidies or were dumped in the U.S. market.  The Department of Commerce's action updates the preliminary margins that were announced earlier in the consideration of the case which was filed jointly by the USW and the three companies.

The companies and the USW filed unfair trade cases on September 23, 2009 with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (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 in sheet form used in high-quality writing, printing and other graphic applications, with a GE brightness rating of 80 or higher and weighing up to 340 grams per square meter.

The antidumping margins announced by DOC on imports from Indonesia were 20.13 percent and ranged from 7.6-135.83 percent on imports from China.  Countervailing duties on products from Indonesia will be subject to tariffs of 17.94 percent and on Chinese imports range from 17.64-178.03 percent.  If the ITC votes affirmatively in their upcoming injury determination, these rates will apply for the term of the relief.  The ITC will vote on October 19 and the transmittal of its views to DOC will occur on November 4.

"Today's announcement validates the allegations the industry made almost a year ago as to how Chinese and Indonesian coated paper exporters were engaged in unfair trade practices.  Correction of the dumping and subsidization by the imposition of duties to offset the margins announced today will help provide some more certainty that a competitive market will exist in these products," said Sandra Van Ert, president and chief executive officer of Appleton Coated LLC.

Leo Gerard, International President of the USW said, "Last week the International Trade Commission heard from the companies and their customers, the union and elected officials from around the country of the injury that has been inflicted by Chinese and Indonesian coated paper producers who are, to put it simply, cheating.  They've engaged in unfair trade practices to advance their interests at the cost of production and jobs here in the U.S.  Commerce's decision today further validates their unfair pricing and sets the stage for final action to restore a competitive market."

"Working together, the companies and the Steelworkers have fought for a fair and level playing field," stated George Martin, president and chief executive officer of NewPage Corporation.  "Today's action is welcome news for the industry and its employees as they look to a future where they can compete fairly based on the quality of the products they produce, the investments that have been made in new technology, and sustainable forestry practices."

Mark Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Sappi Fine Paper North America said, "Commerce's recognition of the impact of dumped and subsidized products sends a message that our government is interested in restoring a competitive market in coated paper.  We have presented before the International Trade Commission a clear and compelling case that these dumped and subsidized products have in fact injured our businesses, depriving our employees of enriching jobs.  We are hopeful the Commission will recognize that injury in its final determination next month."

"Our members work hard and play by the rules," said Jon Geenen, USW International Vice President.  "All they want is a fair chance to compete.  This decision shows clearly what they've been up against in terms of unfair trade practices of the producers they have to compete against." 

"It's time, once and for all, for us to have the rules of fair trade enforced and the government to stand up for their interests.  The domestic industry has experienced capacity reductions and under-utilization resulting in the loss of jobs in communities all across the country.  The petitions show that unfairly traded imports from China and Indonesia are a significant contributor to that underutilization of capacity, mill closures and resultant job loss," said Geenen.

The three companies employ about 6,000 production workers represented by the USW at 20 paper mills operating in seven states.

SOURCE: Appleton Coated; NewPage Corporation; Sappi Fine Paper North America


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