Canada ‘deeply disappointed’ by US groundwood paper duty

Tamar Atik
January 11, 2018
By
Jan. 11, 2018 – Following a period of tension over possibly having more taxes imposed by Canada’s neighbours to the south, the U.S. Department of Commerce slapped on preliminary countervailing duties up to 9.93 per cent on Tuesday for uncoated groundwood paper (newsprint) imported from Canada.

“We are deeply disappointed with the unjustified preliminary countervailing duty rates announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce,” Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources said in a joint statement.

"Any duties will have a direct and negative impact on ‎U.S. newspapers, especially those in small cities and towns, ‎and result in job losses in the American printing sector‎,” the statement said.

A number of Democratic and Republican U.S. Senators along with more than one thousand small to medium-sized U.S. newspaper publishers strongly opposed any duties on Canadian newsprint fearing that the duties would end up compromising American jobs.

“Forest Products Association of Canada [FPAC] strongly believes that these duties are completely unjustified and protectionist in nature,” said FPAC CEO Derek Nighbor.

“We call on the Federal government to stand with us and the over 4,500 hard-working Canadians from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador who could be impacted by this frivolous trade action,” Nighbor said in a statement.

The Commerce Department determined that duties would range from 4.42 to 9.93 per cent.

Washington-based North Pacific Paper Company petitioned the Commerce Department in this case against Canada.

Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said the decision “allows U.S. 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.”

“The Department of Commerce will continue to evaluate and verify the accuracy of this preliminary determination while standing up for the American business and worker,” Ross said in a statement.

Canada is the largest exporter of newsprint in the world and according to Commerce, 2016 imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada were valued at an estimated $1.27 billion.

Commerce is scheduled to make its final decision by May 22, 2018.

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