Catalyst among newsprint producers slapped with U.S. countervailing duties

Catalyst among newsprint producers slapped with U.S. countervailing duties

Punitive duties on newsprint sales to the USA pose a threat to B.C.'s biggest papermaker, though its mills have other export options to mitigate the impact. The duty against Kruger is 9.93% and the preliminary penalty against White Birch is 0.65%. Those duties could then change in a final ruling, and the company involved would have to prove that it was harmed by the subsidies given to Canadian producers.

Catalyst Paper, with mills in Crofton and Port Alberni, hit with a 6.09 per cent countervailing duty from the United States.

On Aug. 9, 2017, North Pacific Paper Co. brought a petition before the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration (ITA) alleging paper manufactured in Canada is priced in a way that cuts into its business.

Anneberg said the company estimates the duties would increase the cost to produce the average printed newspaper by less than 5 cents per copy.

Mr. Boyle criticized Norpac, owned by hedge fund One Rock Capital Partners LLC of NY, for minimizing the ripple effects of the duties. "This is an effort to perversely manipulate trade laws for short-term gain, putting in jeopardy the communication lifeline of so many small and rural communities in the United States".

Kursman said Norpac was alone in its challenge because production margins are "razor thin".

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr called the duty rates "unjustified" in a joint statement.

Given its "outlier status", the letter said, "it appears that One Rock Capital Partners may be using the petitions as a means of increasing the short-term value of this one mill, without any regard for the dramatic negative implications for USA newspapers in thousands of small cities and towns".

Catalyst among newsprint producers slapped with U.S. countervailing duties
Catalyst among newsprint producers slapped with U.S. countervailing duties

"We will continue to work with our forest industry, provinces and territories, and communities across Canada to defend this vital sector against unfair and unwarranted USA trade measures and practices".

Canada has launched a wide-ranging complaint against the United States over its trade practices.

But other Canadian exporters have also become the target of countervailing and anti-dumping duties, and the Canadian government announced today that it is now taking it fight against American duties to the World Trade Organization in a kind of omnibus complaint over American duties on both Canadian products, as well as products in other countries.

More than 1,100 small and mid-sized newspapers - members of the alliance - signed a letter in December to warn Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that punitive duties on Canadian newsprint would have a devastating impact.

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) said the duties could be in effect as early as next week.

"This is not really based on sound objective methods", said Neuheimer.

In response to the December 4 letter, Norpac sent another letter to Commerce last month accusing the News Media Alliance of supporting Canadian paper producers at the expense of American jobs and industry.

"Forestry is as important to the Canadian economy as energy", said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director. "Maybe we are going to experience plant shutdowns for a few weeks".

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