Catalyst Paper’s Crofton mill in the Cowichan Valley. (Catalyst)

Latest U.S. government duty decision alleges newsprint ‘dumping’

‘We will not be pushed around,’ says BC Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston

They won the last trade dispute over glossy paper, and now B.C.-based Catalyst Paper faces an “anti-dumping” duty of more than 22 per cent on newsprint.

The latest preliminary decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce is on top of a six per cent countervailing duty imposed on Jan. 8. A final decision on both measures is expected in early August.

“ This U.S. trade action is unwarranted and without merit,” Catalyst CEO Ned Dwyer said in a statement released Wednesday, vowing to “vigorously defend” the company against the trade action.

B.C. Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston said the provincial government will do its best to help the company and its employees in B.C. communities.

“We will not be bullied,” Ralston said. “We will not be pushed around. We will work closely with Catalyst and the federal government to fight this preliminary decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and demand that B.C. is treated fairly by its largest trading partner.”

Catalyst has its corporate headquarters in Richmond, its distribution centre in Surrey and paper mills in Crofton, Port Alberni and Powell River.

Crofton produces 350,000 tonnes of newsprint and 377,000 tonnes of pulp per year, with nearly 600 employees. The Port Alberni operation produces directory and lightweight coated paper. Powell River mill, with 383 employees, produces newsprint and uncoated mechanical specialty papers.

The U.S. decision affects “uncoated groundwood paper” used in newspapers, directories, flyers, catalogues and books. Directory paper was excluded from the preliminary ruling.

“Even with the exemption of directory paper, the remaining anti-dumping and countervailing duties are onerous and a critical cost challenge to Catalyst,” Dwyer said. “They pose a threat to our competitiveness and the sustainability of our business and we will continue to vigorously defend ourselves against them.”

In 2015, the U.S. agency final review determined that a countervailing duty on glossy or “supercalendered” paper was not justified because Catalyst did not receive significant government subsidies during the period it reviewed.

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