Newsprint tariffs decried by Higgins, colleague

Newsprint tariffs decried by Higgins, colleague

Newsprint tariffs decried by Higgins, colleague

The Commerce Department imposed a preliminary countervailing tariff of 9.93 per cent on Kruger, 6.09 per cent on Catalyst, 4.42 per cent on Resolute, 0.65 per cent on White Birch Paper Canada Co. and a weighted average of 6.53 per cent against other Canadian paper mills.

"Today's preliminary decision allows USA producers to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of potential government subsidies while taking into account the need to keep groundwood paper prices affordable for domestic consumers", said Wilbur Ross, commerce secretary.

In a bipartisan letter, Stefanik and 35 other members of Congress also urged Commerce to "carefully investigate the issue, and consider the negative impact that any trade remedy would have on the USA newspaper and commercial printing industries, as well as the overall US paper manufacturing industry".

As a result of today's decision, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada based on these preliminary rates.

Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said the decision "allows US producers to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of potential government subsidies while taking into account the need to keep groundwood paper prices affordable for domestic consumers".

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"These tariffs will saddle publishers with additional costs that will ... accelerate the decline in both the printed newspaper and newsprint industries".

"Norpac has a world-class facility that can compete with anyone around the world, but we need to be able to compete on a level playing field". It is estimated that the newspaper and commercial printing industry supports roughly 600,000 American jobs.

"Any duties will have a direct and negative impact on USA newspapers, especially those in small cities and towns, and result in job losses in the American printing sector", the ministers said in a statement. Paper Excellence, for example, no longer makes newsprint, following the closure of its Howe Sound paper mill. About 80 per cent of newsprint is sold directly to newspaper publishers, Norpac estimates.

Norpac is targeting products such as newsprint, directory paper, bookgrade paper and groundwood printing and writing paper.

"While we understand the concerns recently surfaced by some newspaper publishers, we strongly disagree with the notion that their industry requires low-cost, government-subsidized, imported newsprint from Canada to sustain its business model", he said.

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This follows a series of similar penalties as the US alleges unfair trade practices from Canada in softwood lumber and Bombardier subsidies.

It had asked the World Trade Organization to examine the American use of punitive duties, alleging that they violate worldwide law for five reasons.

The complaint was released Wednesday after being filed last month. Ltd., Canfor Corp. and Tolko Industries Ltd.

Commerce is now scheduled to announce its final CVD determination on or about May 22, 2018. Quebec's Resolute and Kruger face duties of 4.4 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, and all other producers in Canada face duties of 6.5 per cent.

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