A bi-partisan group of the House of Representatives on September 18 asked the International Trade Commission (ITC) to deny a petition filed by the North Pacific Paper Company (Norpac) that requests antidumping and/or countervailing duties of over 50 percent on newsprint imported from Canada. The bipartisan letter, led by Representatives Chuck Fleischmann (R-Chattanooga, TN) and Jamie Raskin (D-Rockville, MD), argued that a well-documented shift from printed newspapers to digital alternatives has caused a dramatic decline in newsprint consumption. And, that this trade dispute, brought on my one mill with 400 employees, could put at risk 175,000 jobs in the newspaper industry. Other representatives that signed the letter include House Republican Conference chair, Cathy McMoriss Rodgers (R-WA) and representatives Mike Rogers (R-AL), Diane Black (R-TN) and Ralph Norman (R-SC).
Last week the Alliance Board of Directors sent its own letter to the ITC opposing the petition. The petition is also opposed by a broad coalition of U.S. and Canadian paper manufacturers, who understand that sharp price increases on customers could accelerate the decline in newsprint demand.
The ITC is expected to make a preliminary determination on petition on September 22. If the Commission decides to move forward, the ITC and the Department of Commerce will conduct investigations and hearings that could lead to a final determination in late spring 2018.