Even if the American government had decided to inflict no tariff on Canadian newsprint at all, Paul Humber believes Corner Brook Pulp and Paper is better off headed in the same direction it’s going.
Humber is president of Unifor local 242, which represents paper machine workers in the Corner Brook mill and is one of several unions at the plant.
He welcomed the news Thursday that the United States will not be implementing a 22.16 per cent anti-dumping tariff on Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and will be slightly reducing a countervailing duty affecting the mill from 9.93 to 9.53 per cent.
“The anti-dumping was the big one, so that’s good news, of course,” said Humber.
Kruger, the Montreal-based parent company that owns Corner Brook Pulp and paper, has been shifting its business away from the American markets recently. While the threat of hefty tariffs undoubtedly helped solidify that business model, Humber said it only makes sense anyway since the newsprint industry in the United States and all of North America is shrinking.
There are better opportunities for profitability, said Humber, by expanding into the Asian, South American and African markets as Corner Brook Pulp and Paper has started doing more of lately.
With unions inside the mill poised to commence negotiations for new labour agreements, Humber is confident the company is moving in the right direction.
“Entering negotiations, we would certainly like to see the company in a good position,” he said. “Good news for them is good news for everybody associated with them, whether they’re an employee, a contractor or whoever.”
The Western Star requested an interview with Kruger and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, but the company said it would not be making any comment on the American government’s decision.
Premier pleased with tariff outcome so far
The Telegram and the Canadian Press
Dwight Ball says he will continue to fight for better trade relations as they relate to pulp and paper tarrifs.
The premier reacted Friday to the rate of Montreal-based Kruger, which owns Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Ltd., CVD being lowered slightly to 9.53 per cent.
“We're (going to) continue to work until the end of this month and see what the next set will be,” Ball told reporters.
“We knew in the beginning that these were unfounded, they were not necessary, it was a poor decision.”
Later this month, Ball, representatives from Kruger and other players from the country’s forestry industry will make a final pitch to the International Trade Commission in hopes of reducing the CVD rate even further, possibly even eliminating it.
“There's a chance it can go to zero,” Ball said.
That effort, MP Seamus O’Regan says, could be buoyed by an unexpected ally in United States newspapers and media organization.
“They're already feeling extreme financial pressure and now they're having to pay more for newsprint, so, they'll continue to ramp up the pressure as well,” the federal minister of Veterans Affairs said.
In the meantime, Ball said Kruger will continue to look for other opportunities to diversify exports like they have with India.
The U.S. says US$1.21 billion worth of uncoated groundwood paper was imported from Canada last year.
The Trump administration began investigating Canada's newsprint industry after Washington-based North Pacific Paper Co., complained Canada was dumping newsprint into the American market and unfairly subsidizing its industry at home.
It is the same argument made regarding Canada's softwood industry, which led to the imposition of both countervailing and anti-dumping duties on most Canadian softwood exports to the United States.
The U.S. International Trade Commission is slated to decide in mid-September whether the American complainant suffered harm.