U.S. International Trade Commission to Investigate Asian Paper Imports
Chinese, Indonesian share of U.S. market soared to 30 percent, case claims.
The U.S. International Trade Commission said it will proceed with an investigation of coated paper imports from China and Indonesia after unfair trade cases were filed by Sappi Fine Paper North America, NewPage Corp., Appleton Coated LLC and the United Steelworkers.
The trade cases allege that certain coated paper from China and Indonesia have been dumped and subsidized, with the number of total imports of coated paper soaring 40 percent in the first half of 2009. Meanwhile, shipments from the domestic manufacturers have dropped by 38 percent while China and Indonesia have nearly doubled their share of the U.S. market to nearly 30 percent.
The paper covered in the petitions only addresses coated sheet-fed paper for printing and graphic applications using sheet-fed presses with a GE brightness rating of 80 or higher, and weighing 340 grams per square meter—not web coated paper.
While the U.S. mills have received preliminary rulings in their favor in similar cases in the past, the courts could not show that there was an injury. “I believe this time it will be different since so many domestic paper manufacturers have had to resort to layoffs resulting from excessive down-time and in a few cases have had to permanently shut down mills leading to a great loss of jobs,” said Dan Walsh, vice president of publication papers for Chicago-based Bradner Smith & Company.
Still, Walsh said the imports aren’t the intent of the paper industries problems. “While I certainly side with the domestic mills on the dumping issue, the extreme economic meltdown is not mentioned as a contributing factor to the mill’s woes,” he added. “The enormous drop in magazine ad pages as well as catalogers and retailers cutting back have also been huge contributors in decreased market demand for coated paper.”