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Commission to Investigate Asian Paper Imports

November 09, 2009

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released a preliminary determination to proceed with a full investigation of the practices surrounding coated-paper imports from China and Indonesia. The planned action was passed in unanimous vote on November 6.

Complaints about coated-paper dumping and unfair subsidies from Asia were first filed by Appleton, NewPage, Sappi, and the United Steelworkers union on September 23, 2009. The U.S. Commerce Department then supported the complaintants with its own October 13 decision to begin an investigation.

The paper products covered by the petitions include coated paper with a GE brightness rating of 80 or higher, and weighing up to 340 grams per square metre.

In their petitions, the company’s estimate that total imports of covered coated paper increased by nearly 40 percent during the first six months of 2009 compared with a similar period of time in 2008. The companies continue to state that shipments their own shipments are estimated to have declined by approximately 38 percent, adding that China and Indonesia together almost doubled their share of the U.S. market over the same period and now are believed to account for nearly 30 percent of the U.S. market.

“Today’s vote is an important step in our quest to restore a level playing field,” said Mark Gardner, CEO of Sappi Fine Paper North America. “Fair competition requires all companies, both domestic and international, to abide by the trade laws and to make investments in sustainable practices.”

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