International Trade Commission Rules in Favor of U.S. Papermakers

Oct. 25, 2010 (Press Release) - Appleton Coated LLC, NewPage Corporation, and Sappi Fine Paper North America — together with the United Steelworkers (USW) — welcomed the U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) finding [on Friday, Oct. 22] that imports of coated paper from China and Indonesia are causing material injury to U.S. producers and workers. That finding was based on a 6-0 vote by the bipartisan commission.

The ITC decision clears the way for the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of coated free sheet paper from these countries. On Sept. 21, 2010, the agency issued its final determination citing imports from China and Indonesia as being both dumped and subsidized by significant margins.

The Commerce Dept. found that producers or exporters dumped coated paper in the United States at margins of 7.6-135.83 percent for China, and 20.13 percent for Indonesia. The agency also determined that these producers or exporters received countervailable subsidies ranging from 17.64-178.03 percent for China, and 17.94 percent for Indonesia.

Coated paper covered by the cases is used in many high-end commercial printing applications, including annual reports, coffee table books, magazines and brochures.

"NewPage is very pleased with the International Trade Commission's finding on injury," said George Martin, president and chief executive officer of NewPage. "[the Oct. 22] determination underscores the effects of unfair competition on the U.S. industry, where government subsidies and dumping have suppressed prices and forced mill closures," said Martin. "The decision will allow the Commerce Department to impose duties to offset the significant levels of dumping and government subsidies that were found to exist last month." Martin added, "We will remain committed to this effort and it's important to remember that we are willing to compete with anyone in the world as long as we have a level playing field."

"We've waited a long time for this decision, which will help restore a competitive market," added Mark Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Sappi Fine Paper North America. "For far too long, some of our competitors have been able to get away with unfair and illegal dumping and subsidies to sell their products. The ITC's decision puts us one step closer to being able to compete fairly based on the quality of our products, the investments we make in our mills, equipment and people, and the sustainable manufacturing and procurement practices we implement and pursue," said Gardner.

Sandra Van Ert, president and chief executive officer of Appleton Coated LLC said, "The ITC finding of injury is testimony to what we, our workers and the communities in which we operate have been experiencing for far too long. In this instance, our trade laws have worked and will help restore not only legal competition in the marketplace, but the faith of our employees that work hard, play by the rules and only want a fair chance to compete."

Jon Geenen, USW international vice president, declared, "[the Oct. 22] decision shows that these predatory trade practices by the Chinese and Indonesian exporters are unfair, illegal and injurious to our employers and their workers. We will not ignore the efforts of our foreign competitors who want to violate international trade standards to succeed at the expense of our union members' jobs — that's a fight we'll never back away from."

Once the final antidumping and countervailing duty orders are published in the Federal Register, the U.S. Customs agency will begin applying duties on Chinese and Indonesian coated paper imports.

The companies and the USW filed unfair trade cases Sept. 23, 2009 with the Commerce Dept. 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 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.

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

SOURCE: NewPage Corporation