U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Testifies Before International Trade Commission on Behalf of Wisconsin Manufacturer
Baldwin Works to Even the Playing Field for Appleton Paper Company
Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin delivered testimony this morning at a hearing of the International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of a Wisconsin paper company, Appvion of Appleton. The purpose of Baldwin’s attendance at the hearing was to highlight the importance of the paper industry in Wisconsin and to address an important trade matter that impacts Appvion, a pulp and paper mill that manufactures and sells coated paper products world-wide and employs 1,644 employees in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“Senator Baldwin was among the first to support our fight for a level playing field on which to compete when we began the process in 2007. We appreciate the Senator’s strong and ongoing efforts to protect Wisconsin manufacturing jobs by ensuring a fair and competitive marketplace,” said Mark Richards, CEO Appvion.
The Appleton-based paper company was a petitioner in a 2008 antidumping investigation on imports of lightweight thermal paper from China and Germany. As a result of the investigation, antidumping duties were imposed on imports from Germany and China and countervailing duties were imposed on imports from China. Antidumping duties are put in place for five years. After the initial five-year period, the Department of Commerce and the ITC review the duties and determine if revoking them would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping, and to what extent the domestic marketplace would be harmed. In February, the U.S. Department of Commerce found that dumping by German and Chinese thermal paper producers would likely continue if the duties were revoked. Today, the ITC heard testimony about how the domestic marketplace is impacted by dumped imports.
“In Wisconsin, we have one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation, supporting a large share of our workforce and exporting goods all over America and the world. Wisconsinites work hard and play by the rules. Whether it’s making paper products, diesel engines or navy ships, when Wisconsin manufacturers compete on a level playing field, more often than not, they win,” Senator Baldwin said, “Appvion and their employees have played by the rules of international trade and have done quite well. However, they are under constant threat from foreign companies that play by a different set of rules and quite frankly, companies that cheat”
In May, Baldwin testified before the International Trade Commission on behalf of Wisconsin stainless pipe manufacturer, Felker Brothers of Marshfield, in a pending anti-dumping investigation.
Senator Baldwin’s testimony from today’s ITC hearing is included below.
Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Commission on a matter of great importance to Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, we have one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation, supporting a large share of our workforce and exporting goods all over America and the world. Wisconsinites work hard and play by the rules. Whether it’s making paper products, diesel engines or navy ships, when Wisconsin manufacturers compete on a level playing field, more often than not, they win.
As you no doubt know, paper making is part of Wisconsin’s manufacturing backbone and has a long and cherished tradition in my home state. Appleton, Wisconsin, where Appvion, the petitioner in this case, is headquartered, has long been at the center of this industry. Appvion is a great American company, and is employee owned.
Appvion is strongly represented and well served by its United Steel Worker employees. In fact, one of these union members will be here later today to testify and many more across Wisconsin and the United States are following these proceedings. These workers are very concerned about this decision and so am I.
Appvion and their employees have played by the rules of international trade and have done quite well. However, they are under constant threat from foreign companies that play by a different set of rules and quite frankly, companies that cheat.
I am here today to ask that the antidumping orders on Lightweight Thermal Paper from China and Germany, and the countervailing duty order on Lightweight Thermal Paper from China, be allowed to continue.
The underlying issues in this case have been blurred by a persistent pattern of fraud engaged in by one of the respondents, Koehler, based in Germany. I understand that this is not a mere allegation, but that there have been two findings of fraud by the United States government in final determinations. Allowing foreign suppliers unrestricted access to our open market, while they are knowingly defrauding the U.S. government by dumping undervalued products in our markets, is unconscionable. In doing so, not only have they lied to gain a competitive advantage in our open market, but they have done so at the expense of American manufacturers and workers. This kind of conduct cannot be permitted and must be taken into account in your considerations. It shows to what lengths Koehler will go to continue to illegally dump in the United States.
The United States paper industry has suffered financial losses and lost thousands of jobs as a result of persistent patterns of unfair trade across all segments of the industry. Appvion in particular had to fight an uphill battle to keep their prices competitive when Chinese and German companies began to sell their paper in the Unites States at subsidized prices. As we all know, consumers typically shop for the best bargains, so Appvion’s sales and revenue were threatened when Koehler dumped their products on the market. Appvion is a key employer and economic contributor in Wisconsin, supporting thousands of jobs. Yet if foreign producers can cheat and sell in our market through fraud, deception and unfair trade, its future and the future of its workers will be in great jeopardy.
As Mark Richards, the CEO of Appvion, said in his testimony before this panel in 2008, “This unfair competition has deprived all domestic producers of lightweight thermal paper of sales revenue and driven down prices…The unfair trade practices of foreign manufacturers have negatively impacted the U.S. lightweight thermal paper market outlook and damaged our business.” We cannot allow these conditions to return to this vital part of the Wisconsin and the American economy.
You have the ability to make a real difference for American workers and producers in this case. There can be no reason to allow unfair trade to take a further toll on this industry. I strongly urge you to keep the orders on the books and request that you keep me informed as these proceedings move forward. Thank you for your time and for your careful consideration of this case.