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Wisconsin Paper Makers Have Trouble Competing In U.S. Market

International Trade Commission Could Level Market By Applying Tariffs To Companies Internationally

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Rahul Nair (CC-BY-NC)

At a time when a federal agency is examining the competitiveness of U.S. paper products, Wisconsin’s paper companies say they are at a disadvantage due to other countries’ ability to sell paper cheaply here.

The International Trade Commission heard testimony last week about alleged paper dumping in the U.S. Some unions allege countries including China, Indonesia, and Australia are able to make paper cheaply because of government subsidies. They also say the countries ship the paper, especially coated paper, to the U.S.

Jeff Landin, the president of the Wisconsin Paper Council, said the current system puts Wisconsin companies at a disadvantage.

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“It is hard to imagine being able to produce a product where they have to bring in the raw materials — because they don’t have a lot of wood in the Far East — produce it, ship it all the way to the United States. And they can do it for less cost than it would somebody in the state of Wisconsin to produce and put it on the market here,” said Landin.

Landin said coated paper is used in magazines and circulars.

“We’ve seen several mills that produce coated paper that have closed in the state of Wisconsin,” he said. “I can’t say ‘A and B are directly related,’ but I don’t think it’s beyond the pale to suggest that one of the reasons is because the demand went down but also the supply of coated paper was being flooded.”

The International Trade Commission has the power to levy tariffs against countries that are found to have “dumped” paper into this country.

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