Assistant to the International President
UNITED STEELWORKERS (USW)
U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION (USITC)
on the Sunset Review of
CERTAIN LINED PAPER SCHOOL SUPPLIES (CLPSS)
of duty orders on imports from China, India and Indonesia
June 12, 2012
Good morning Chairman Okun and members of the Commission. I am Leeaann Foster, Assistant to the International President of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union or the USW. My union is North America’s largest manufacturing union, with 850,000 active members. We represent thousands of workers in the paper industry and have members working for Mead Products and Roaring Spring Paper Products, two large paper converters located in Pennsylvania.
I would like to begin by thanking the Commission for the opportunity to testify before you on behalf of members of the USW whose livelihoods depend upon the continuation of the orders against dumped and subsidized imports of certain lined paper school supplies from India, Indonesia, and China.
I would also like to extend my personal gratitude to the USW members working in this industry who are in the audience today and ask them to stand and be recognized. They have traveled here from Pennsylvania to express their support for keeping the orders in place.
Five years ago, the U.S. lined paper industry was in dire straits as a result of dumped and subsidized imports from the subject countries. Several U.S. production facilities closed, production lines shut down, shipments, production, and capacity declined, and inventories rose. Our members lost jobs, lost hours, lost overtime, lost wages, and lost benefits. The U.S. lined paper industry was far from a vision of health. It was clear that subject imports were having a devastating effect on the industry and its workers. As a result, the Commission appropriately imposed antidumping and countervailing duty orders against certain lined paper school supplies from India, Indonesia, and China.
Since these orders were imposed, they have worked as intended. In the past five years, big box retailers have not been able to purchase dumped and subsidized imports from the subject countries. As a result, as you have heard here today, the domestic industry’s position has stabilized and capacity, shipment volumes, and capacity utilization have all improved. At the same time, USW members working in the U.S. lined paper industry have been able to maintain their jobs, their hours, and their benefits. For example, just last week, USW members at the NewPage paper facilities in Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan and Wisconsin ratified a new four-year Master Contract that will bring added protection to 4,500 workers and help the company emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a stable employer in the paper industry.
As was the case five years ago, our future now ultimately lies in your hands. If the orders were to be revoked, USW members would suffer the same harm that they endured before the orders were put in place. It is clear that Indian, Indonesian, and Chinese lined paper producers all remain interested in selling here, and, in fact, they continue to do so. However, the difference is that because of the elimination of dumped and subsidized imports from the U.S. market, U.S. and imports subject to the orders have all been competing on a level playing field and fairly-traded basis.
Without the orders in place to ensure that their imports are priced fairly, the U.S. industry and our members would find themselves right back in the same precarious position as back in 2005. Nothing would prevent Indian, Indonesian, and Chinese producers of lined paper from again selling subject merchandise in the United States for the lowest price possible, driving down U.S. prices, capturing significant market share and again causing harm to our members. Once this happens, many U.S. lined paper producers would quite likely rely more heavily on imports to save at least some portion of domestic production. Even more troubling, they could move their production operations offshore, which would end the jobs of our members here and have a devastating impact on our members, their families and their communities. Clearly, our union in general understands what can happen when unfair trade poses such a direct threat to domestic industries -- companies often react by moving offshore. But while companies like the paper companies involved here might be able to move their production operations offshore to survive, our members cannot. Rather, USW members will find themselves left behind without a job. This would be particularly painful in the midst of a fragile economic recovery and with unemployment levels remaining so stubbornly high. Consequently, I cannot stress enough that revoking the orders would very likely be nothing short of disastrous for our members.
Further, I understand that the Indonesians blame the precarious position of the domestic industry in 2005 on the industry’s workforce being far too large during 2003 through 2005. The workers, including our members who lost their jobs, or saw their wages and benefits decline before these orders were imposed, however, would strongly disagree. They were not sitting idle – but working and productive until unfairly traded imports from the subject countries came in and caused harm. So I do not agree with such a claim and neither do USW members, some of whom are here today and who are depending upon the continuation of these orders for their continued survival in this industry.
On behalf of the USW members who make lined paper products, our retirees who depend on the health of this industry for their retirement security, and all of the communities they support, I urge the Commission to act to ensure that subject imports do not cause the same harm that they did five years ago and maintain the orders against certain lined paper school supplies from India, Indonesia, and China.
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