Wednesday, October 24, 2007

US toughens paper import duties to save local jobs

US toughens paper import duties to save local jobs
Jennifer Whitehead,, 23 October 2007

The US government is to put anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on coated paper imported from China, Indonesia and South Korea, after calls from unions wanting to protect jobs in America.

This will prevent the sale of glossy paper products at below US production costs.

The United Steelworkers union has welcomed the US Department of Commerce's decision, saying that China had, until now, enjoyed "special treatment" that exempted it from anti-subsidy tariffs.

However, it criticised the delay in making the decision, saying that it had already forced mill closures and the shutdown of paper lines in the US.

United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard said: "Today's ruling is the right direction for American workers, but much more still needs to be done to bring about fair trade.

"For example, China imports most of its timber, yet there is still no real way to determine if the imported wood – which is used to make paper products exported to the US – has been harvested illegally."

China had appealed to the World Trade Organisation against moves to impose the tariffs.

The number of jobs in the US paper industry has fallen dramatically since 2002, when United Steelworkers counted around 190,000 workers in the paper and forestry products industry. That number now stands at 130,000 workers.