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Trade tariff victory for USW paper workers

9 December, 2016Anti-dumping tariffs on paper products from China and Indonesia were extended by US authorities on 6 December. The decision by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) follows strong lobbying by the world’s largest paper workers union, USW, who were joined by US manufacturers in calling for the measures.

The remedial tariffs are subject to review every five years; so fair market conditions are assured for coated paper producers in the US. Unfair trading practices by Chinese and Indonesian paper companies included using heavy state subsidies to make it impossible for US manufacturers to compete, and dumping cheap product in the US market to strangle competition.

The important IndustriALL affiliated United Steelworkers originally petitioned for the decision in 2009 with three companies from the sector, NewPage Corporation (since then acquired by Verso), Sappi North America, and Appleton Coated LLC.

Tariffs on imports of coated paper from China range from 3.64 per cent to 135.84 per cent for dumping and from 19.46 per cent  to 202.84 per cent for existing subsidies. For Indonesia, dumping margins were assessed at 17.46 per cent and for subsidies at 20.13 per cent.

Coated paper is generally used for printing multicoloured graphics for books, catalogues, magazines and other commercial printing applications.

Jon Geenen, USW international vice president and member of IndustriALL’s Working Group for the pulp and paper sector, stated:

Unfair trade has put at risk thousands of jobs in this sector. This 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.

IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan saluted the USW success:

Working towards achieving fair market conditions for their paper industry has been a priority for our Steelworker comrades for many years. Once again the USW shows that when we fight, we win.