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Friction builds over U.S. anti-dumping penalties

May 2, 2018

By: The Working Forest Staff

A single complaint from a paper mill in Washington state is putting Canada’s pulp and paper industry at risk, and it’s time to fight back, says Unifor’s national president.

In a report by Business Vancouver, Jerry Dias warns that more than 1,000 jobs at paper mills in B.C., Newfoundland and Quebec are at risk as a result of American anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs.

In March, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed a preliminary anti-dumping duty of 22 percent on Catalyst Paper newsprint exports to the U.S. That’s atop a 6 percent preliminary countervailing duty that had previously been levied – bringing the total to 28 percent.

The duties faced by mills are in addition to rising power costs, increasing carbon taxes, a shrinking fibre supply and a decades-long decline in the demand for newsprint and other paper products in an increasingly digitized world.

The duties were imposed as a result of a complaint from North Pacific Paper Co. – owned by the New York hedge fund One Rock Capital Partners – which claims provincial and federal subsidies allow Canadian competitors to sell newsprint into the U.S. at 16 percent to 65 percent less than the market should pay.

Several American newspapers have strongly denounced the duties, warning they could put struggling newspapers out of business and even the American Forest and Paper Association opposes them.

The duties target two companies: B.C.’s Catalyst Paper and Kruger Inc. Unifor points out that Canadian mills owned by the American company White Birch Paper are exempt from the duties.

Catalyst owns paper mills in Crofton, Powell River and Port Alberni. The company employs 1,600 people in B.C. – 1,300 mill workers, and about 300 more at the company’s head office in Richmond and distribution centre in Surrey.

See the full report here.

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