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Industry responds after USA decision to impose newsprint duties

12 January 2018

"What the US uncoated groundwood papers industry wants is a level playing field, and this decision is an important step forward for American producers, workers and their families that have been the victims of unfair Canadian trade practices for too long", stated Norpac chief executive Craig Anneberg.

USA newspaper publishers have been warning that a combination of countervailing and anti-dumping duties will have a devastating impact on an industry already struggling to cope as readers increasingly make the transition from printed products to digital devices.

Washington-based North Pacific Paper Co. filed a petition past year that argued American mills couldn't compete against Ottawa's support for Canadian producers, whose business in the United States was worth $1.3 billion in 2016.

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The Commerce Department's decision follows a petition filed by the North Pacific Paper Company last summer.

Canada is the largest exporter of newsprint in the world, with a market dominated by Resolute Forest Products (TSX: RFP), Kruger and Catalyst Paper Corp. of British Columbia.

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Two New York representatives are speaking out against the Commerce Department's preliminary decision to impose tariffs on Canadian paper used by book publishers and newspapers across the state. The tariffs are expected to take effect within one week. Norpac claimed that Canadian paper companies benefit from 65 different subsidies that add up to hundreds of millions of dollars. "This decision will protect American jobs in Washington, Mississippi and Georgia, and may even serve to create jobs in the U.S.as idled paper machines restart", Anneberg's email said.

The CVD law provides USA businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of foreign government unfair subsidization of imports into the United States. The Daily News is printed on paper manufactured at Norpac. About 80 per cent of newsprint is sold directly to newspaper publishers, Norpac estimates. "People in small towns all over America still depend on their local newspapers", according to their letter, the latest in a series of political efforts to sway the Commerce Department.

Canada has asked the World Trade Organization to examine the trade practices of the United States. Other Canadian producers pay the weighted average of 20.23 per cent.

Catalyst does have other export options to mitigate the impact, said industry analyst Kevin Mason with the firm ERA Forest Products Research, but argued the trade action is a self-serving move that will only hurt US newsprint consumers in the long run.

Resolute faces a preliminary duty of 4.42 per cent while the Catalyst Paper duty is 6.09 per cent, Kruger's is 9.93 per cent and the White Birch duty is 0.65 per cent.

Industry responds after USA decision to impose newsprint duties