The United Steelworkers (USW) union joined with several domestic paper producers in filing a request with the U.S. Department of Commerce to address the circumvention of existing antidumping and countervailing duty orders on uncoated paper imports.
The original case covered uncoated paper in sheets, largely copy paper. Foreign producers have shifted to flooding the United States with essentially the same product but doing so in rolls which are then converted into sheets. This is now having the same devastating impact on domestic producers and workers.
“The domestic paper sector has been under attack for more than twenty years as foreign producers seek to take advantage of our market, putting our members’ jobs in jeopardy. Thousands have been lost to foreign unfair trade practices,” said USW International Vice President Leeann Foster, who oversees bargaining in the union’s paper sector. “Our trade laws are supposed to defend American workers and industries by addressing foreign unfair and predatory trade practices. We need our government to stand up for domestic jobs and stop the assaults on our workers.”
The domestic producers joining today’s effort are Domtar Corporation, Packaging Corporation of America, North Pacific Paper Company and Finch Paper. The products undermining U.S. producers and workers come from Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia and Portugal.
“We were forced to fight to get trade relief against dumping and subsidies of uncoated paper in sheet form only to now see our competitors circumventing the law by sending it into our market in rolls, then having it cut here,” said Foster. “The USW will continue that fight against unfair trade until every last domestic job is safe.”
“Too many foreign companies and governments seek to avoid playing by the rules and will do whatever they can to undermine our producers and steal our jobs,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “The USW has fought for decades to see that our laws provide a level playing field for our members, but despite promises of a new approach to trade, workers continue to have to fight for their own jobs and for the enforcement of our trade laws.
“Handling circumvention promptly is an important part of effective enforcement. Hopefully, the Administration will act quickly.”
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, mining, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, the service, public and health care sectors and higher education.