Updated: Klobuchar, Oberstar Fights for Minnesota Paper ProducersSenator urges the U.S. International Trade Commission to examine unfair foreign trade practices.
By: Press release, Pine Journal
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Jim Oberstar urged the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) this week to address unfair trade practices by foreign paper producers that are disrupting the U.S. paper industry. Klobuchar and Oberstar testified at an ITC hearing on the trade case filed by U.S. paper companies, including NewPage Corporation and Sappi Fine, and the United Steelworkers against imports of coated paper from China and Indonesia.
“Minnesota has always been a leader in the American paper industry,” Klobuchar said. “But unfair trade practices are currently undercutting our domestic producers. American workers and businesses deserve to operate on a level playing field with our foreign competitors, and this requires proper enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duty laws.”
"Coming from Northeastern Minnesota, I know from personal experience the economic devastation associated with unfair trading practices," Oberstar said. "Failed free-trade practices have exacerbated job losses, created anxiety over the future of plants and factories, and communities. I am not anti-trade with China. In fact, China buys more Minnesota manufactured goods than any country after Canada. But, when bad policies and individual bad actors result in subsidized and dumped goods flooding our markets, we need prompt, vigorous, efficient enforcement of our trade laws.
"The global economic recession affected us all. During this economic recession, we have seen increased dumping of paper products and additional government subsidies to promote China’s papermaking juggernaut. We cannot allow China and Indonesia to export their unemployment to the United States. We must take all measures necessary to halt the flood of unfairly traded paper into the United States and prevent surges of dumped and subsidized paper from continuing to devastate our companies and workers."
According to petitions filed in the case, Chinese and Indonesian imports have increased by 40 percent in 2009, accounting for 30 percent of the U.S. market. The unnatural growth in foreign paper production has driven U.S. producer shipments down to 38 percent of the U.S. market. Furthermore, between 2002 and 2009, the United States lost more than 150,000 jobs in the paper products industry.
In September 2009, NewPage Corporation, Sappi Fine Paper North America, and the United Steelworkers filed petitions with the Department of Commerce and the ITC alleging that certain coated paper products from Indonesia and China are being sold in the United States at less than fair value, causing material damage to U.S. industry. In November 2009, Klobuchar sent a letter to the ITC in support of these petitions and continues to push for proper enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duty laws.
NewPage Corporation and Sappi Fine have mills in Minnesota. Since 1898, Sappi Fine’s pulp and paper mill has operated in Cloquet, and today, it employs over 750 workers. NewPage’s pulp and paper mill in Duluth employs over 250 workers, and it includes a recycled pulp mill that recycles nearly one million pounds of recovered paper every day.
After Thursday's hearing, the Department of Commerce will make its final determinations on the case. If both the Department of Commerce and the ITC make final determinations in favor of U.S. paper producers, the Department of Commerce may issue antidumping duty orders against such imports in early November.