Thermal Paper Imports From China Face U.S. Duties

March 11, 2008 - The U.S. Department of Commerce yesterday announced its preliminary decision to apply the U.S. anti-subsidy law to imports of lightweight thermal paper from China. The preliminary decision determined that certain Chinese producers and exporters of lightweight thermal paper received countervailable subsidies ranging from 5.68% to 59.5%, with one producer receiving a duty of less than 1%.

Thermal paper producer Appleton applauded the Commerce Department's ruling. "We are pleased with the Commerce Department ruling because it confirms our experience in the market place and is a critical step in restoring a level playing field on which we can compete," said Mark Richards, Appleton's chief executive officer.

"We hope that the Administration continues to take a firm stance against unfair trade practices," he added.

Richards said that the Commerce Department will make a subsequent determination in May regarding whether imports of lightweight thermal paper have been dumped in the U.S. market.

In September 2007, Appleton filed petitions with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that the Chinese government is subsidizing the Chinese lightweight thermal paper industry. Foreign governments subsidize industries when they provide financial or other assistance to benefit the production, manufacture or exportation of goods. Subsidies can take many forms such as direct cash payments, preferential tax breaks, loans at terms that do not reflect market considerations and subsidized inputs. The amount of subsidies the foreign producer receives from the government is the basis for the subsidy rate by which the subsidy is offset or "countervailed."

Appleton also alleges in its petitions that lightweight thermal paper products, typically used for point-of-sale retail receipts and coupons, imported from China and Germany are being wrongfully dumped in the United States. Dumping occurs when a foreign producer sells goods in the United States at prices below those at which it sells in the country of origin or at prices lower than the cost of production. Appleton asked the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission to impose offsetting duties on lightweight thermal paper products imported from those countries.

Upon publication of this decision in the Federal Register, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin to collect a cash deposit or bond from importers of lightweight thermal paper subject to the investigations. The U.S. Department of Commerce is scheduled to make its preliminary determination on dumping from China and Germany on or about May 6, 2008. Any duties imposed in the dumping case on China would be in addition to the duties imposed in the countervailing duty case.

SOURCE: Appleton

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