Sat, Mar 10, 2012 - Page 12 News List

ITC holds hearing on proposed anti-dumping duties

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter

The International Trade Commission (ITC) yesterday held a public hearing on proposed anti-dumping duties on imported coated paper from China, Japan, South Korea and Finland to clarify whether these imports had contributed the decline of the local paper manufacturing industry.

In July last year, the Taiwan Paper Industry Association (台灣區造紙公會) filed anti-dumping charges with the Ministry of Finance, asking the ministry to investigate coated paper from these four countries to see if it was undermining the development of domestic papermakers.

The association is hoping the ministry will place duties on coated paper from China, Japan, South Korea and Finland of 93 percent, 88 percent, 14 percent and 4 percent respectively.

“Taiwan’s paper manufacturing industry has encountered strong and unreasonable headwinds as a result of the dumping of coated paper imported from these countries,” said Lin Feng (林鳳), a lawyer from Lee and Li Attorneys-At-Law (理律法律事務所), who represented the Taiwan Paper Industry Association in the hearing.

The government has imposed zero-tariffs on paper imports since 2004, resulting in long-term pressure on the local paper sector, Lin said.

However, the unreasonably low prices of paper from China, Japan, South Korea and Finland have made it increasingly difficult for local paper manufacturers to maintain their market share, he said.

Although domestic demand for paper has risen steadily over the past few years, the market share of local papermakers has fallen from 69.25 percent in 2008 to 57.4 percent last year, according to data from the association.

Over the same period, the market share of papermakers from the four countries rose from 26.6 percent to 38.3 percent, the association said.

As a result, the local paper manufacturing sector made losses of more than NT$30 billion (US$1.02 billion) in 2010, losses that are expected to have continued last year.

“This proves that the industry has been hurt by imports from these countries,” Lin said.

The association expressed concern that its losses could worsen as supply increases, with global papermakers focusing on the Taiwan market because of its zero-tariff regime.

Global supply of paper exceeded demand by 1.5 million tonnes in 2009, with new capacities coming online in 2010 likely to have further increased supply to a surplus for this year of perhaps more than 2 million tonnes, association data showed.

However, the printing and publishing industries offered a different point of view on developments in the local paper industry.

“We think the anti-dumping charges filed by paper manufacturers represent an attempt by them to drive up the price of paper,” a Magazine Business Association of Taipei (台北市雜誌公會) representative surnamed Kung (龔) said.

Most of the coated paper imports used by local magazines are in different categories to paper produced locally, Kung said, adding that one of the reasons local paper manufacturers did not make this kind of paper was their failure to engage in research and development.

If the Ministry of Finance approves anti-dumping duties on these paper imports, it would undermine the development of domestic publishers and the cultural and creative sector as a whole, Kung said.

The commission said that yesterday’s hearing would be the only one before it sends its preliminary evaluation back to the ministry before the deadline of April 6 for further review.

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