US Issuing Countervailing Duty and Anti-Dumping Orders on Uncoated Paper

The US Department of Commerce will be issuing countervailing duty and anti-dumping orders on certain types of uncoated paper imported from several different countries.  The uncoated paper at issue is generally used as copy and printer paper, as well as for books, instruction manuals, inserts, business forms, flyers, maps, and brochures.  On February 9, 2016, the US International Trade Commission (“ITC”) ruled that China, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia and Portugal had violated US trade laws, and that US paper manufacturers were materially injured through dumping of uncoated paper into the United States “at less than fair market value.”  In addition, in the cases of China and Indonesia, there was also a finding that government subsidies from those two nations were involved.  All six ITC commissioners voted in favor of the ruling, which affirmed last year’s preliminary ruling by the US Department of Commerce (“Commerce Department”).  The anti-dumping complaints were filed by the United Steelworkers of America, Domtar Corp., Finch Paper LLC, Glatfelter Company, and Packaging Corp. of America.

Generally, a countervailing duty investigation is meant to determine whether foreign governments are unfairly subsidizing their producers/ exporters, while in an anti-dumping duty investigation, dumping occurs when a foreign company sells a product in the United States at less than its fair value.  Information is collected by the Commerce Department to determine whether, and to what level, unfair government subsidization and/ or dumping has occurred.  The Commerce Department findings are then reviewed by the ITC, which is an independent, quasi-judicial Federal agency that, among other things, investigates the effects on domestic industries of subsidized and/ or dumped imports.  When a foreign company has been found to have been dumping and/ or to have received unfair subsidies, and the ITC finds that the relevant US industry has been materially injured or threatened with material injury as a result of the unfairly-traded imports, an order will be issued to collect duties equal to the amount of subsidization or dumping.  As a result of the ITC’s affirmative determinations concerning uncoated paper, the Commerce Department will issue countervailing duty orders on imports of that product from China and Indonesia, and anti-dumping duty orders on imports of that product from China, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia and Portugal.