Stabenow, Peters Call for Investigation into Unfair Trade Practices for U.S. Uncoated Paper Industry

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters joined a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), urging the ITC to thoroughly investigate imports of uncoated paper from Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia and Portugal. The U.S. uncoated paper industry faces unfair trade practices that put the industry at a competitive disadvantage as imports are dumped at significant margins and benefit from government subsidies. In total, 15 uncoated paper machines at eight mills across the country have shut down since 2011, eliminating nearly 2,500 jobs.
‘The pace of mill and paper machine closures has accelerated as imports have grown,’ wrote Stabenow, Peters and their colleagues. ‘These closures are devastating not only for the companies and workers directly involved, but for thousands of families, small businesses, and local and state governments that rely on paper mills for their livelihoods and economic survival. We ask that you thoroughly and objectively review the facts in this case and help ensure that American businesses and workers are able to compete on a level playing field.’
Michigan is home to seven paper mill facilities owned by Domtar Corporation and Packaging Corporation of America, two companies that have filed antidumping petitions against unfairly priced imports of uncoated paper. Uncoated paper includes copy paper, as well as the paper used in books, brochures, maps, business forms and flyers.
Senators who also signed the letter include: Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), John Boozman (R-AR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Richard Burr (R-NC), Thomas Tillis (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA).The full text of the senators’ letter is available below:
Dear Chairwoman Broadbent:
We write in strong support of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)’s preliminary phase investigations of imports of uncoated paper from Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, and Portugal. The petitioners in this case representing the domestic paper industry have provided evidence that the imports in question are dumped at significant margins and that imports from China and Indonesia in particular benefit from a wide array of government subsidies. We note that the U.S. Department of Commerce has initiated its own investigations into uncoated paper from these countries.
The domestic uncoated paper industry and its workers are in dire need of relief from these dumped and subsidized imports. Despite a declining market, imports jumped by 43.9 percent from 2011 to 2013 and another 40.4 percent in just the first nine months of 2014. From 2011 to the first three quarters of 2014, imports more than doubled their share of the U.S. market, at the direct expense of U.S. producers. In all, 15 uncoated paper machines at eight mills across the country have shut down since 2011, eliminating nearly 2,500 jobs.
Subject imports have been able to seize tonnage from domestic producers through aggressive underselling and price depression. Average import unit values dropped by $90 per ton from 2011 to 2013 and another $16 per ton in interim 2014. Underselling has increased in intensity as import volumes have grown. The result is a domestic industry that has rapidly lost capacity, production, shipments, market share, employment, and profitability to imports since 2011. The pace of mill and paper machine closures has accelerated as imports have grown. These closures are devastating not only for the companies and workers directly involved, but for thousands of families, small businesses, and local and state governments that rely on paper mills for their livelihoods and economic survival.
We ask that you thoroughly and objectively review the facts in this case and help ensure that American businesses and workers are able to compete on a level playing field. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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