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For Immediate Release
October 22, 2010

Decision paves the way for additional tariffs on imported coated paper

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins released the following statement in response to the International Trade Commission’s ruling today that the U.S. coated paper industry has been injured by the illegal actions of the Chinese and Indonesian paper industries. The ITC voted unanimously 6 to zero that the U.S. paper industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of certain coated paper suitable for high-quality print graphics using sheet-fed presses from China and Indonesia.

“I am tremendously pleased with this decision,” said Senator Collins. “For too long, Maine’s paper industry has lost jobs and market share due to illegal actions by the Chinese and Indonesian paper industries. This decision recognizes the impact on the estimated 60,000 lost jobs in the U.S. paper industry in the last eight years and agrees with the conclusions of the Department of Commerce’s investigation.

“The Department of Commerce found that China and Indonesia are using a number of subsidies deemed illegal under WTO rules including: government loans to the paper industry, income tax reductions for foreign-invested companies, providing timber below cost, and government loan forgiveness. If that were not enough, the Department of Commerce has also found both nations guilty of dumping their paper.

“Our paper manufacturers and their employees can compete against the best in the world, but they cannot compete against foreign manufacturers that receive huge government subsidies and other unfair advantages. The pulp and paper industry in Maine has often been referred to as the “backbone” of the State’s economy, and with good reason. Last year, the industry contributed nearly $900 million to Maine’s economy. In total, the pulp and paper industry accounts for 22 percent of all manufacturing wages in the state. In some communities, the mill can represent 60-80 percent of total tax revenues.

“Today’s victory will help Maine’s paper industry compete internationally. Additional actions must be taken to achieve a truly fair marketplace, but this is a major step forward.”

Last month, Senator Collins testified before the International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. on the case. Senator Collins discussed how the governments of China and Indonesia have illegally subsidized their paper industries and how this has harmed the paper industry in Maine and throughout the nation. Senator Collins was invited to testify before the government panel because of her leadership in working to ensure that the U.S. paper industry has the ability to compete with foreign producers on a level playing field.

Senator Collins is also an original cosponsor of S.3134, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2010 which would reform and enhance oversight of currency exchange rates. The bill provides consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment and includes tools to address the impact of currency misalignment on U.S. industries. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation shortly before the October recess. The Senate may consider such legislation during the post-election session.