US Newsprint Duties Cancelled, Funds to be Returned to Canadian Companies

The U.S. International Trade Commission has overturned duties imposed on Canadian newsprint, said the Canadian Press today.

The commission says it found that imports of the paper product, part of the wider category of uncoated groundwood paper, do not injure US industry.

The U.S. Commerce Department imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties of various levels on Canadian producers including Resolute Forest Products, Catalyst Paper, Kruger, and White Birch Paper, earlier this year.

The U.S. International Trade Commission’s vote overrules the findings of the Commerce Department.

The five commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday that imports from Canada of uncoated groundwood paper, used for newspapers, commercial printing and book publishing, do not injure U.S. industry, according to Canadian Press via Global News also today.

The vote comes after US newspapers had campaigned to lift the duties that had pushed a core expense higher and forced layoffs at some papers.

The inside industry scoop is that the company which requested the newsprint duties had not been able to maintain the bacteria population in it’s tailing ponds for 1.5 years, and had to shut down to restore the bacteria health. Sometimes these curtailments last six weeks. Considering that this company was alone in requesting duties, none of the other US pulp and paper mills agreed with the duties, the indication seems to be that the duties were brought on to offset costs of production interruption at that Washington State pulp mill.

– Madison’s Lumber Reporter

David Chavern, CEO of U.S. newspaper industry group News Media Alliance, applauded the ruling. He said the campaign to end the duties was supported by 174 members of Congress and forestry industry groups in the U.S.

The end of uncoated groundwood duties follows the reversal in July of duties the U.S. had imposed on supercalendered paper from Canada in 2015. The US says US$1.21 billion worth of uncoated groundwood paper was imported from Canada last year, down from US$1.46 billion in 2015.