Verso, Sappi, Appleton, USW Welcome 5-Yr. Extension of CFS Import Duties

Verso Corp., Memphis, Tenn., USA, Sappi North America, Boston, Mass., and Appleton Coated LLC, Combined Locks, Wis., together with the United Steelworkers (USW), Pittsburgh, Pa., this week welcomed the extension of duties on imports of certain coated paper from China and Indonesia as an important step to ensure continuing fair market conditions for the domestic market. The decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to continue existing duties resulted from a petition filed under a so-called "sunset review." Under existing law, remedial tariffs that are authorized in antidumping and countervailing duty cases are subject to review every five years under sunset review procedures.  

The original effort to address unfair trade for the subject products was decided in November 2010. The four petitioners requested extension of relief to help ensure that fair market conditions would enable producers to continue to compete in the market.

In September 2009, petitions were filed by NewPage Corp. (since then acquired by Verso), Sappi North America, Appleton Coated LLC, and the USW, with the Department of Commerce and the ITC. The petitions alleged that certain coated paper from China and Indonesia had been subsidized and dumped in the U.S., resulting in injury to the domestic industry and its employees. 

In November 2010, relief was provided following affirmative findings of dumping and subsidization by Commerce and the threat of material injury by the ITC.

The decision by the Department of Commerce and the affirmative findings by the ITC resulted in the imposition of remedial tariffs on imports of coated paper from China at margins ranging from 3.64% to 135.84% for dumping and at margins ranging from 19.46% to 202.84% for existing subsidies. For Indonesia, dumping margins were assessed at 17.46% and for subsidies at 20.13%.

The imposition of duties resulted in the dramatic decline of imports from both China and Indonesia and the restoration of fair market conditions.

Today, there are thousands of workers with good, family supportive wages. The affirmative decision in the sunset review will help to maintain fair market conditions. Coated paper is generally used for printing multicolored graphics for books, catalogues, magazines and other commercial printing applications.

"Today's decision will help ensure that the market for coated paper will remain competitive and that unfair trade practices of companies in China and Indonesia continue to be addressed," said Verso Corp. SVP, Sales, Marketing, and Product Development Michael A. Weinhold. "We've fought for years to make sure our laws against unfair trade work as intended and that Chinese and Indonesian dumping and subsidies are addressed. The extension of existing orders is a welcome step in promoting fair trade."  
Mark Gardner, president and CEO of Sappi North America, pointed out that “our goal has always been to be able to compete fairly based on the quality of our products so that we can continue to invest in our mills, equipment, and people as well as the sustainable manufacturing and procurement practices we implement and pursue. The subsidies and dumping actions of China and Indonesia jeopardized our production and our workers and this extension will help our company, our community, and our investors. Fair trade requires that the rules be enforced."

Doug Osterberg, CEO of Appleton Coated LLC, stated that "paper markets are exceptionally competitive and the decision to maintain the remedial orders against unfair trade are vital to ensuring fair market conditions. For us, there was no question that, if the orders were lifted, serious injury to the domestic industry would follow, and we're pleased that the ITC agreed. This decision will help ensure that we can continue to invest in our technology, plant, equipment, and people and that our customers can have confidence in the quality and availability of the products they need in their businesses."

Jon Geenen, USW international VP, said that "unfair trade has put at risk thousands of jobs in this sector. Today's decision will continue the hard-fought battle for relief that has helped save many of these jobs and ensure that our industry can survive. The existing duties authorized to remain in place for the next five years will ensure that the hard work of USW members producing these products won't be jeopardized by unfairly traded products from China and Indonesia."

Leo W. Gerard, USW international president noted that “the ITC's decision maintains the fair market conditions that the existing duties against Chinese and Indonesian predatory trade practices have provided. Thousands of good, family-supportive jobs were at risk if the ITC didn't extend the vital relief currently in place. We will continue to fight for the future of our members producing these products, other paper products, and the workers across industry who deserve to have the rules against unfair trade aggressively applied."

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