Sunday, 21 January, 2018

Canada launches global trade complaint against US

Rise against proposed newsprint taxes NewsAlert: Canada launches global trade complaint vs US over use of duties
Melinda Barton | 13 January, 2018, 08:53

The preliminary duty handed down by the U.S. Department of Commerce is 6.09 per cent for Catalyst.

This latest tariff slap on an overall tax of 6.53 per cent on about 25 Canadian plants that will impact mostly the Ontario and Quebec region and follows the outrageous 20.83 per cent combined duty imposed by the US on Canadian softwood lumber in 2017.

Norpac, owned by hedge fund One Rock Capital Partners LLC of NY, said subsidies in Canada include breaks on electricity rates and unfair financial assistance.

A fresh round of unfair tariffs coming out of the U.S. Commerce Department-this time on Canadian-made newsprint-will only hurt workers in an industry already reeling from softwood duties.

Higgins, joined by fellow U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, expressed concern this week that the measure will lead to added costs for consumers and potential job cuts at large and small newspaper and book publishing operations across NY state and the nation.

"Norpac has a world-class facility that can compete with anyone around the world, but we need to be able to compete on a level playing field".

Mike Klingensmith, publisher of the Star Tribune, said Minnesota's largest newspaper spends about $10 million annually on newsprint.

More than 10 domestic paper mills have closed since 2012, resulting in the loss of approximately 2,150, according to Norpac.

"Any duties will have a direct and negative impact on United States newspapers, especially those in small cities and towns, and result in job losses in the American printing sector". Connecticut-based White Birch Paper Co., which runs three Quebec paper mills through its Canadian unit, is the voluntary respondent in both the countervailing and anti-dumping cases.

The preliminary countervailing duties against Canadian newsprint producers come as Canada and the United States remain deadlocked during talks to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement and amid the prolonged fight over softwood lumber.

The company estimates the ruling will raise production costs by less than five cents per newspaper. "An escalation in paper prices would push some over the edge, and cost their communities not only the newspaper jobs but the news and advertising support that drives other local jobs".

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, representatives of more than 1,100 local publications nationwide wrote: "Facing increased costs of newsprint across all suppliers, many small-town papers will be at risk of failing".

The U.S. International Trade Commission will rule on the tariffs in the summer.

"The Department of Commerce will continue to evaluate and verify the accuracy of this preliminary determination while standing up for the American business and worker".

It has asked the World Trade Organization to examine the use of duties in the United States, alleging that they violate global law for five reasons.

A Commerce investigation found that Canadian uncoated groundwood paper - the same product used to print newspapers - was subsidized by an average of 6.53 percent, Norpac said Tuesday.

The Commerce Department determined that duties would range from 4.42 to 9.93 per cent.