Nfld. & Labrador

N.L., Corner Brook Pulp & Paper celebrates overturning of U.S. newsprint tariffs

Premier Dwight Ball called the decision a "major win for the province, Corner Brook Pulp & Paper, and the forestry industry."

U.S. International Trade Commission overturned duties imposed by commerce dept

Corner Brook Pulp & Paper is the last paper mill in Newfoundland. It is owned by Montreal-based Kruger. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is celebrating a ruling that will see proposed U.S. tariffs on Corner Brook Pulp & Paper eliminated.

The U.S. International Trade Commission overturned duties imposed on Canadian newsprint, saying it found that imports of the paper product, part of the wider category of uncoated groundwood paper, do not injure U.S. industry.

"It's a great day for the forestry industry in the province," Premier Dwight Ball told CBC News. "There's 5000 people attached to the forestry industry in our province, so it's a significant day, a big win for the team. Today seeing the decision, 5 and 0 unanimous coming out of the U.S., today the tariffs are removed."

The paper mill on Newfoundland's west coast would have lost about $30 million a year through the proposed tariffs.

Corner Brook Mayor Jim Parsons is relieved that the tariff is gone.

"Kruger; they didn't panic, the union didn't panic. Everyone sort of just said 'Okay, what do we have to do next?' They looked for a new market, found new shipping methods, improved how they did things in order to make the product at Corner Brook viable, and they did just that," he said.

"All in all, I think it's great news and it's time to move on and let's get back to business." 

Mayor of Corner Brook Jim Parsons is hoping things get "back to business" after the U.S. tarriff on pulp and paper has been dropped. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Ball says that working closely with unions across the province, and with governors and senators in the United States, helped sway the decision in Washington, allowing for the commission's 'no injury' decision.

"It was a full court press to get this decision where it is today. So I think it's really about pushing back to Washington, telling our story in Newfoundland and Labrador and indeed the story of the newsprint industry across the country," Ball said.

"So really it is a win for Newfoundland and Labrador, but a big win for the country as well."

In January, the mill was hit with an export duty of 9.93 per cent on groundwood paper, followed two months later by a 22 per cent anti-dumping duty, the amounts the department said were necessary to combat what it said was Canadian exporters illegally undervaluing paper to undercut U.S. producers.

Corner Brook Pulp & Paper was looking to expand beyond the North American market, after the U.S. introduced a 32 per cent export duty on Canadian newsprint. That tariff has been overturned. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The commerce department eased those numbers earlier this month, with the anti-dumping duty was revised to zero per cent for all but one Canada producer, and Kruger's export duty was lowered slightly, from 9.93 to 9.53 per cent.

Fighting the tariffs had cost the province $500,000 by April 2018, since the province had to hire legal expertise in the U.S. Premier Dwight Ball said at the time is was a worthy investment, given the possibility of a $30 million loss to the province.

Corner Brook Pulp & Paper is owned by Montreal-based Kruger. It is the last pulp mill in operation in Newfoundland.

Overall, the forestry industry in the province is valued at around $286-million annually, according to the government's press release, and directly and indirectly employs more than 5,000 people.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador