Gord Johns calls on Liberal government to act on unfair newsprint tariffs

U.S. anti-dumping tariff could have “devastating impact” on Island communities

In response to a decision from the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose a 22 percent anti-dumping duty deposit on Canadian paper products, Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns is calling on the Liberal government to act decisively.

“Once again, we have been hit by unfair tariffs by the Trump administration while our Prime Minister remains silent,” said Johns in a statement. “He needs to act immediately in the interest of the thousands of workers in British Columbia who will be negatively impacted.”

The U.S. anti-dumping tariff affects uncoated roundwood paper, which is used in newspapers, flyers, catalogues and books. Catalyst Paper, which owns a paper mill in Port Alberni, exports a significant portion of its Canadian production to the U.S.

Ned Dwyer, Catalyst’s president and CEO, said in a statement on Wednesday that he was “very disappointed” with the decision.

“This U.S. trade action is unwarranted and without merit,” he added.

Johns, who represents the Alberni Valley in parliament, said, “Our mills have been decimated, jobs lost and families imperilled by the failure of the Liberal Government to protect this industry.”

It has been four months since the U.S. hit Canada’s forestry industry with duties on softwood lumber, affecting more than 200,000 Canadian workers. Around the same time, they hit Canada’s aerospace industry with tariffs affecting another 200,000 workers, and it has only been one week since the near miss of tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Now the U.S. has announced another potentially devastating duty on newsprint.

Canada is the largest exporter of newsprint in the world, and this American protectionist measure could have a devastating impact in many communities on Vancouver Island and the coast. This hit will also further advance the threat of mill closures and layoffs.

An estimated $64 billion dollars could be lost, and half a million Canadians could see their jobs impacted by the imposed tariffs and duties from the U.S., said Johns.

“How many rounds of tariffs do we have to withstand before the Liberal Government gets serious about international trade?” Johns asked.

“Our forestry industry is already devastated by the export of raw logs and this only makes things worse. The time for action is now to protect this essential sector from still more unnecessary hardship and job losses.”

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