Archive for September, 2010

September 21, 2010 WASHINGTON, DC—Sept. 21, 2010—Appleton Coated LLC, NewPage Corp. and Sappi Fine Paper North America, together with the United Steelworkers (USW), welcomed the Department of Commerce’s announcement of final antidumping and countervailing duty margins on coated paper imports from China and Indonesia.
Today’s announcement of final antidumping and countervailing duty margins sets out the tariffs that will be applied to unfairly traded imports of coated paper from China and Indonesia that benefited from subsidies or were dumped in the U.S. market. The Department of Commerce’s action updates the preliminary margins that were announced earlier in the consideration of the case which was filed jointly by the USW and the three companies.

The antidumping margins announced by DOC on imports from Indonesia were 20.13 percent and ranged from 7.6 to 135.83 percent on imports from China. Countervailing duties on products from Indonesia will be subject to tariffs of 17.94 percent and on Chinese imports range from 17.64 to 178.03 percent. If the ITC votes affirmatively in their upcoming injury determination, these rates will apply for the term of the relief. The ITC will vote on October 19 and the transmittal of its views to DOC will occur on November 4.

The companies and the USW filed unfair trade cases on September 23, 2009 with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that certain coated paper from China and Indonesia had been dumped and subsidized resulting in injury to the domestic industry and its employees. The paper products covered by the petitions include coated paper in sheet form used in high-quality writing, printing and other graphic applications, with a GE brightness rating of 80 or higher and weighing up to 340 grams per square meter.

“Today’s announcement validates the allegations the industry made almost a year ago as to how Chinese and Indonesian coated paper exporters were engaged in unfair trade practices. Correction of the dumping and subsidization by the imposition of duties to offset the margins announced today will help provide some more certainty that a competitive market will exist in these products,” said Sandra Van Ert, president and chief executive officer of Appleton Coated LLC.

Leo Gerard, International President of the USW said, “Last week the International Trade Commission heard from the companies and their customers, the union and elected officials from around the country of the injury that has been inflicted by Chinese and Indonesian coated paper producers who are, to put it simply, cheating. They’ve engaged in unfair trade practices to advance their interests at the cost of production and jobs here in the U.S. Commerce’s decision today further validates their unfair pricing and sets the stage for final action to restore a competitive market.”

“Working together, the companies and the Steelworkers have fought for a fair and level playing field,” stated George Martin, president and chief executive officer of NewPage Corporation. “Today’s action is welcome news for the industry and its employees as they look to a future where they can compete fairly based on the quality of the products they produce, the investments that have been made in new technology, and sustainable forestry practices.”

Mark Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Sappi Fine Paper North America said, “Commerce’s recognition of the impact of dumped and subsidized products sends a message that our government is interested in restoring a competitive market in coated paper. We have presented before the International Trade Commission a clear and compelling case that these dumped and subsidized products have in fact injured our businesses, depriving our employees of enriching jobs. We are hopeful the Commission will recognize that injury in its final determination next month.”

“Our members work hard and play by the rules,” said Jon Geenen, USW International Vice President. “All they want is a fair chance to compete. This decision shows clearly what they’ve been up against in terms of unfair trade practices of the producers they have to compete against.”

“It’s time, once and for all, for us to have the rules of fair trade enforced and the government to stand up for their interests. The domestic industry has experienced capacity reductions and under-utilization resulting in the loss of jobs in communities all across the country. The petitions show that unfairly traded imports from China and Indonesia are a significant contributor to that underutilization of capacity, mill closures and resultant job loss,” said Geenen.

The three companies employ about 6,000 production workers represented by the USW at 20 paper mills operating in seven states.

About Appleton Coated
Appleton Coated, headquartered in Kimberly, WI, provides focused market leadership in premium coated and specialty paper products. The Appleton Coated product portfolio includes a range of commercial printing and book publishing papers marketed under the Utopia® brand as well as specialty and private label products. Known for their performance, aesthetics, and environmental attributes, Appleton Coated manufactures their products in a state-of-the-art facility in Combined Locks, Wisconsin, hosting the newest papermaking machine of its type in North America. For more information please visit our website at www.appletoncoated.com/.

About NewPage Corp.
Headquartered in Miamisburg, OH, NewPage Corp. is the largest coated paper manufacturer in North America, based on production capacity, with $3.1 billion in net sales for the year ended December 31, 2009. The company’s product portfolio is the broadest in North America and includes coated freesheet, coated groundwood, supercalendered, newsprint and specialty papers. These papers are used for corporate collateral, commercial printing, magazines, catalogs, books, coupons, inserts, newspapers, packaging applications and direct mail advertising.

NewPage owns paper mills in Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nova Scotia, Canada. These mills have a total annual production capacity of approximately 4.4 million tons of paper, including approximately 3.2 million tons of coated paper, approximately 1.0 million tons of uncoated paper and approximately 200,000 tons of specialty paper. For more information, visit www.NewPageCorp.com.

About Sappi Fine Paper North America
Sappi Fine Paper North America (SFPNA) is a leading North American producer of coated fine paper used in premium magazines, catalogues, books and high-end print advertising. Headquartered in Boston, MA, Sappi Fine Paper North America is known for innovation and quality. Its brand names, including McCoy, Opus, Somerset and Flo, are some of the industry’s most widely recognized and specified. SFPNA is a division of Sappi Limited (NYSE, JSE), a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with manufacturing operations on four continents in 10 countries, sales offices in 50 countries, and customers in over 100 countries around the world. Learn more about Sappi Fine Paper North America at: www.sappi.com/na/.

About the United Steelworkers
The United Steelworkers (USW) is a North American union headquartered in Pittsburgh that negotiates labor agreements representing 850,000 active workers employed in metals, mining, pulp, paper, timber, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply, energy producing industries, plus the service and professional sectors to include healthcare, municipalities and pharmaceuticals. For more information: www.usw.org/.

Source: Press release.

According to an article on MSNBC (http://lifeinc.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/09/14/5103056-coupon-clipping-craze-may-be-slowing)
“…Call us recessionistas, frugalistas or just plain cheap: The weak economy has forced American shoppers to look hard for good deals.
Coupon clipping faded during the early 2000s but enjoyed a huge resurgence in 2009. Americans redeemed 3.3 billion coupons for consumer goods that year, a 27 percent increase over the 2.6 billion redeemed in 2008. That may partly have been because there were more coupons available. Inmar says 367 billion coupons were distributed in 2009, the most in at least 20 years.When it comes to coupon use, consumers seem more interested in deals on bread and cheese rather than paper goods or sandwich bags….”

This presents an opportunity for web and sheet-fed printers to cash in on the coupon resurgence. Work with your clients to design products that can be used to sell the maximum number of coupons, so their ad revenue is maximized as well.

Unnerving Corruption

Perhaps it is a sign of the times. Or, maybe I have not paid attention in the past, but it seems like I am reading about more and more corruption in our industry than ever before. Yes, business is business, and some people are corrupt – period. However new articles are appearing on a regular basis in the trade journals about indictments, arrests, prison sentences handed down. All of these happening in the industry I have been associated with for 35 years, and cannot remember this many illegal activities. For example, just today I read:
“Newton man is sentenced to 3 years in prison for stealing more than $100K from business”
Published: Friday, September 10, 2010, 1:38 PM
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP (Somerset) — A Newton man today was sentenced to three years in prison for taking more than $100,000 from a Somerset County printing business where he worked as the controller. David Hathaway, 51, apologized for his actions and defense lawyer asked Judge Paul Armstrong to give him a suspended sentence for the theft from Toppan Printing Co., a firm located in Franklin Township.
Attorney Drew Hurley insisted his client didn’t take the money for a lavish lifestyle, but to help support his family. They were struggling under debts that mounted when Hathaway was unemployed. “He did so to pay bills, not to go to Atlantic City, not to buy drugs,” Hurley said, adding that his client is bankrupt. “It was aberrant behavior.”

This was on the same page as:
Charges say Frank Russo traded printing business for political contributions
Updated: Thursday, September 09, 2010, 8:28 PM The Plain Dealer
The scheme: Russo traded public business for political contributions, according to prosecutors.
Russo is accused of using his official position, between 2005 and 2007, to funnel nearly $450,000 in county work to a printing company. Damir Blecic is not named, but matches the description of Public Employee 53, an employee in the auditor’s office with an interest in Business 34, described as a printing company located in Garfield Heights.
Critics of the printing transactions have said the work was done at inflated rates, and also noted that the county has its own printing operation. In exchange for the work from the county, according to the charges against Russo, the auditor’s employee contributed an unspecified sum to Russo’s political campaign. The charges also say Russo hired relatives of Public Employee 53 and “made personnel decisions” that benefited them. Those decisions are not spelled out. In addition, the charges say that, on or about May 5, 2006, Russo “caused to be paid” an invoice from the printing company to the auditor’s office for about $10,786.40. Federal prosecutors subpoenaed the printing records in November as part of the public corruption investigation.

I tend to believe we live in times where some will act out of desperation. In the meantime, our industry is getting a tarnished reputation which has nothing to do with us being “tree killers” or “environmental polluters”. We can’t afford this kind of bad press, especially right now…