Nova Scotia

U.S. tariffs removed from Port Hawkesbury Paper's products

A paper mill in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., is celebrating a decision by the United States Department of Commerce to end countervailing duties that were imposed in 2015 on its glossy paper.

'It had strained our business significantly,' says co-manager of mill

Port Hawkesbury Paper produces 360,000 tonnes of supercalendered paper a year, which is used in retail flyers, magazines and catalogues. (CBC)

A paper mill in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., is celebrating a decision by the United States Department of Commerce to end countervailing duties that were imposed in 2015 on its glossy paper.

Some American companies had complained that several Canadian mills, including Port Hawkesbury Paper, were receiving unfair subsidies.

The tariff against Port Hawkesbury Paper was 20.18 percent.

Mill officials won't say exactly how much the tariffs cost the company over the past 36 months, but co-manager Mike Hartery said the impact was significant.

"It had strained our business significantly, to the point where there would be a concern as to whether it would be an ongoing operation in the area," said Hartery.

$42M settlement

The decision to end the duties came Friday, after the last remaining U.S. producer of glossy paper involved in the complaint, Verso Corp., withdrew its objections.

Verso reached a settlement with Port Hawkesbury Paper and J.D. Irving of New Brunswick this spring, which will see the two Canadian companies pay Verso up to $42 million.

That money will come from the duties that the Canadian companies will be refunded, dating back to 2015.

Port Hawkesbury Paper officials will not say how much they expect to get back, but they said the ruling will also allow the mill to ramp up its sales in the U.S., which traditionally has been its largest market.

'Minimize some of that exposure'

"We definitely focused our sales efforts outside the U.S. to try to minimize some of that exposure," said Bevan Lock, a co-manager with Port Hawkesbury Paper. 

He said sales to other countries came at an increased cost because of "transportation and logistics."

Port Hawkesbury Paper produces 360,000 tonnes of supercalendered paper a year, which is used in retail flyers, magazines and catalogues.

The mill employs 330 people.

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