August 02, 2012

ITC Answers Portman's Call to Protect Ohio Paper Supply Jobs

Ends Threat to Mead Products' 250 Workers in Kettering

Washington, DC – Today, at the urging of U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the International Trade Commission (ITC) announced that it would continue existing relief against unfairly traded imports of lined paper school supplies from China and India. With current duties at risk of expiring, Portman sent a letter to the Chair of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) asking the commission to extend key protections that help defend jobs at Mead Products in Kettering, Ohio. These orders—which went into effect in 2006 and are reviewed every five years— are critical for Mead Products, which employs 250 workers in Kettering, to maintain jobs and keep prices fair for domestically produced lined paper.

“A report released yesterday showed U.S. manufacturing shrank for the second month in a row; we cannot afford to lose any more of these valuable manufacturing jobs, and especially not to unfairly subsidized imports,” Portman said.  “Mead Products and other Ohio companies make some of the finest products we have to offer and can thrive in a global economy when competing on a level playing field, and I am happy the ITC has followed up on our request  to protect them from unfair trade practices.”

The letter Portman sent to ITC Chair Irving A. Williamson in June noted that the antidumping and countervailing duty orders currently in place have allowed the domestic industry to charge fair prices that are consistent with its raw material costs, expand operations, and keep mills open to prevent layoffs.

In the Commerce Department’s original investigations of lined paper school supplies from China, India, and Indonesia, it imposed dumping margins of up to 258 percent on Chinese producers, dumping margins of up to 23 percent and subsidy rates of up to 10 percent on Indian producers, and dumping margins of up to 118 percent and subsidy rates of up to 40 percent on Indonesian producers of lined paper school supplies.

The full text of the joint letter signed by Senators Portman and Brown is below.

June 25, 2012

The Honorable Irving A. Williamson

Chairman

U.S. International Trade Commission

500 E Street, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20436

Dear Chairman Williamson:

We are writing to strongly encourage you to maintain the existing antidumping and countervailing duty orders against unfairly traded imports of lined paper school supplies from China, India, and Indonesia.  The maintenance of these trade orders is essential to prevent further injury to an already vulnerable domestic lined paper industry.

Mead Products employs 250 employees in Kettering, Ohio and these are vital products for their company. These trade orders have benefitted the domestic lined paper industry.  As a result of the orders, dumped and subsidized imports from China, India, and Indonesia are no longer flooding the U.S. market.  These orders have allowed the domestic industry to charge fair prices that are consistent with its raw material costs, strengthen its production operations, expand its capacity, and make important capital improvements. These orders have also enabled the domestic industry to prevent layoffs and keep mills open.

Although the trade orders have benefitted the domestic lined paper industry, it is by no means shielded from the harmful effects of unfair import competition. Without the discipline of the orders in place, increased dumped and subsidized imports would quickly erode all of the gains that the domestic industry has made since the orders were imposed.  China, India, and Indonesia all have a demonstrated ability and interest to ship significant quantities of unfairly priced lined paper imports to the United States.  At the same time, lined paper purchases are driven by large retailers that import directly, have significant purchasing power, and are able to command the lowest prices.  As a result, if the Commission does not maintain the orders on lined paper school supplies from China, India, and Indonesia, subject imports would undoubtedly enter the United States in increased quantities and at low prices, thereby placing domestic operations at risk.

On behalf of the domestic lined paper industry, its employees, and the communities that we represent, we strongly urge you to continue the existing orders against unfairly traded imports of lined paper school supplies.  The health and success of the U.S. lined paper industry depends on the full and fair enforcement of the trade laws of the United States.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of this critical issue.