Catalyst Paper caught in United States trade dispute over newsprint

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"Today's preliminary decision allows US producers to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of potential government subsidies while taking into account the need to keep groundwood paper prices affordable for domestic consumers", stated US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Quebec's Resolute and Kruger face duties of 4.4 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, and all other producers in Canada face duties of 6.5 per cent.

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 Department of Commerce decision this week would likely increase duties temporarily beginning later in the month, and another aspect of the case would be decided in March.

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is bracing for a USA decision that could apply duties to newsprint exported into the United States.

Canada is the largest exporter of newsprint in the world and according to Commerce, 2016 imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada were valued at an estimated $1.27 billion.

The company estimates the ruling will raise production costs by less than five cents per newspaper.

By contrast, Norpac has just one mill and is owned by a NY private equity firm. "This is about lining their own pockets with cash at the expense of hundreds of thousands of American jobs".

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Visibility could drop to 100 metres in some places bringing risky driving conditions and hindering flight take offs, he added. It adds: "Strong winds create the potential of blizzard conditions and drifting of lying snow".

In a joint statement, Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, said they are "deeply disappointed" with the decision.

In sharp contrast to USA publishers' warnings of potential devastation for small-town newspapers, Mr. Anneberg estimates that the impact of the Commerce Department's countervailing ruling would be less than 5 cents (U.S.) for the average printed newspaper - "a small price to pay to preserve American manufacturing jobs".

The government said it has launched a wide-ranging complaint against the United States over its trade practices.

The News Media Alliance, which represents more than 1,100 newspapers nationwide, sent a December 4 letter addressed to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging the agency to closely scrutinize Norpac's requests.

Joel Neuheimer, vice-president of global trade and transportation for the Forest Products Association of Canada, said the U.S. trade remedy system is a politically-motivated mess.

"While we understand the concerns recently surfaced by some newspaper publishers, we strongly disagree with the notion that their industry requires low-cost, government-subsidized, imported newsprint from Canada to sustain its business model", he said.

Congressional opponents of the duties rightly have concluded they would threaten an industry of 175,000 jobs and would "further damage the printed news industry in the United States, which has seen a more than 50 percent decline in advertising revenue over the last 10 years". "Maybe we are going to experience plant shutdowns for a few weeks".

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