Members of Maine’s congressional delegation have asked U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to work to put a stop to unfair trade practices in the paper market by the Canadian government.

The letter follows an announcement Tuesday by Madison Paper Industries that its mill would be temporarily shutting down and laying off employees because of rising energy costs and competition from Port Hawkesbury Paper in Nova Scotia, which was re-opened in 2012 with assistance from the Canadian government.

In the letter, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin wrote that Madison’s temporary closure follows the shutdown of several other high-profile mills in Maine within the last year and that subsidies to the Port Hawkesbury mill are putting U.S. jobs at risk.

“The subsidies at issue are significant, reportedly totaling more than $125 million, and take the form of loans, grants, tax breaks, and reduced energy costs,” the letter stated.

Despite efforts by U.S. trade representatives to bring the issue to the attention of Canadian authorities, the subsidies are continuing and the Port Hawkesbury mill is in the process of applying for additional aid, it said.

“We respectfully ask that you do everything legally within your power as Secretary of Commerce to address this issue and put a stop to these unfair subsidies. The consensus for fair and open trade is predicated on having trade rules by which everyone lives,” the delegation wrote.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.