The Commerce Department has set preliminary countervailing duties on imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada, which is commonly used for printing newspapers.
U.S. Secretary Commerce Wilbur Ross said the department’s “preliminary 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.”
In its investigation, Commerce calculated a preliminary subsidy rate of 6.09 percent for Catalyst Paper Corp., 9.93 percent for Kruger Trois-Rivieres, 4.42 percent for Resolute FP Canada, and 0.65 percent for White Birch Paper Canada Co. All other Canadian producers/exporters of this product were assigned a preliminary subsidy rate of 6.53 percent.
Commerce will now instruct Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to require cash deposits based on these preliminary rates.
North Pacific Paper Co. of Washington filed the petition requesting the countervailing duty investigation on Aug. 9, 2017. Countervailable subsidies are generally issued by foreign governments to companies based on their export performance or use of domestic materials over imports.
Commerce estimates that in 2016 imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada were valued at $1.27 billion.
The department is scheduled to announce its final countervailing duty determination in this investigation by May 22. If Commerce makes an affirmative final determination and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) makes an affirmative final injury determination, Commerce will issue a countervailing order. If Commerce makes a negative final determination or the ITC makes a negative final determination of injury, the investigation will end and no order will be issued.
In a joint statement, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, and Jim Carr, minister of natural resources, said they were “deep disappointed with the unjustified preliminary countervailing duty rates” to be imposed on U.S. imports of Canadian uncoated groundwood paper.
“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,” they warned.
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