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United Steelworkers, Paper Manufacturers Win Illegal Trade Practices Case against China, Four Other Countries

By February 12, 2016 at 7:50 am
USW (Photo : Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

United Steelworkers (USW) and four American paper manufacturers, Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), Domtar Corporation, Finch Paper LLC, and P.H. Glatfelter Company, won their illegal trade practices case against China, Indonesia, Brazil, Portugal and Australia by unanimous affirmative vote by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The petitions were brought at both the ITC and the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) on Jan. 21, 2015.

"Predatory trade practices by China and other countries have targeted the U.S. paper sector," said USW International Vice President Jon Geenen. "The results have been devastating for our members and their families and communities. America's paper sector is competitive when the rules are fair and when they're enforced. Today's decision will help stabilize and, hopefully, regain production." 

The ITC found that dumped, unfairly priced imports of certain types of uncoated paper in sheets from China, Indonesia, Brazil, Portugal and Australia are causing material injury. They also found that during that same time, illegally subsidized imports from China and Indonesia were also causing material injury.

Dumping occurs when a product is sold in the United States at a price below what it costs to produce or what it is sold for in the home country. Countervailing duties are imposed on imports that are subsidized by foreign governments. 

"Today's decision will help restore fair market conditions for this product," Mark Kowlzan, Chief Executive Officer of Packaging Corporation of America, said in a statement.

"From day one we knew that the law was on our side, that the facts were clear and that our petitions were necessary to restore fair competition. We only wanted for international trade rules to be enforced. We make great products and deserve the right to compete. That's exactly what this case will do."

The petitions had asked the ITC and Commerce, the agencies responsible for investigating illegal trade practices, to impose duties to offset the dumping from all five countries and to offset the subsidies on imports from China and Indonesia.  The duties identified by Commerce will be applied as of the date the antidumping and countervailing duty orders are published in the Federal Register.

"Trade cases are all too often a necessary tool to ensure fair competition," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

"Our members should not have to face unfair and predatory trade practices. Their government should be initiating action but if they do not, we must. In partnership with the four petitioning companies and supported by dozens of elected officials from across the country, we made clear that we would not cede our market to unfair competition.  The paper sector supports thousands of good, family-supportive jobs all across the country and we owe it to the workers to ensure that when they work hard and play by the rules, they'll have a good shot at a decent life."

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