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U.S. firms charge ahead in quest for tariffs against Port Hawkesbury mill

April 12 2015

ANDREW RANKIN CAPE BRETON BUREAU, CHRONICLE HERALD 
Published April 11, 2015 

Two American pulp and paper mill owners are charging ahead in their quest to have tariffs placed on supercalendered paper entering the U.S. from Port Hawkesbury Paper Corp.

In a preliminary injury inquiry on Friday, American trade commission voted to refer the case to the department of commerce for further investigation.

Lead by American supercalendered paper manufacturers Madison Paper Industries and Verso Corporation, the Coalition for Fair Paper Imports is alleging that Nova Scotia has unfairly subsidized Port Hawkesbury Paper Corp.

In documents filed to the commission last month, they state that the subsidies have allowed the mill to dump supercalendered paper on the American market at prices far below what they can compete with.

“It is believed that Canadian producers export over 75 per cent of their production to the U.S. market,” the documents state.

“The domestic industry is vulnerable to increased imports, and U.S. market demand remains depressed and is decreasing. The threat of material injury to the domestic industry is real and imminent.”

It is asking the commission to place tariffs on imports of Canadian supercalendered paper — a glossy product used in magazines and calendars — to limit their competitiveness in the United States market.

Port Hawkesbury Paper mill manager Marc Dube could not be reached for comment. But a release issued by the company on Friday stated it has provided ample evidence, proving the claim is without merit.

“Although Port Hawkesbury Paper and others presented clear evidence that importation of supercalendered paper from Canada did not cause injury to the U.S. market, the statutory threshold for petitioners at this preliminary stage is very low, and it would be highly unusual for any counter-vailing duty petition to be dismissed at this stage,” stated the release. “The case will now receive a thorough examination over the coming months.”

The release also states that the company is prepared to “vigorously defend the claim, and remains convinced that it will be able to establish that no injury to the U.S. market has occurred as a result of alleged subsidies and that in fact there were no material subsidies.”

Also named in the petition are Canadian mill owners Resolute Forest Products Inc., Irving Paper Ltd. and Catalyst Paper Corp. However, most of the petition’s print is saved for Port Hawkesbury Paper.

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