The U.S. Department of Commerce has issued a final order that countervailing duties be placed on supercalendered paper from Canada being imported into the United States, according to a news release Friday from U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King.

The final order follows a decision by the department last month to impose the duties at rates of 18 to 20 percent on supercalendered paper coming into the U.S.

The decision was applauded by U.S. paper producers Madison Paper Industries and Verso Corp., which are expected to benefit from the duties placed on the Canadian paper. The two companies, which together formed the Coalition for Fair Paper Imports, filed a complaint in February asking for the duties to be put in place as a response to unfair subsidies given to Nova Scotia’s Port Hawkesbury Paper.

“The Department of Commerce’s order is welcome news for the hardworking men and women of Madison Paper Industries who have for far too long fought an uphill battle against illegal and unfair provincial subsidies like the ones provided to the Port Hawkesbury Mill,” the senators said in Friday’s release. “The duties levied on companies that have been found to receive illegal and unfair trade advantages will help even the playing field in this important segment of the paper market.”

The release also expressed concern for how the department conducts investigations into unfair trade practices, since the new subsidies could endanger other jobs in Maine at J.D. Irving and Catalyst’s Rumford Mill.

Those companies also produce supercalendered paper in Canada and will be taxed on imports coming into the U.S. even though they have not been found to have received illegal subsidies.

“Rather than conduct a careful assessment of the actual subsidies received by each company, the department relied on Port Hawkesbury’s and Resolute’s subsidies to determine an arbitrary and unfair duty rate for Irving and Catalyst,” the release said.

“On behalf of these Maine workers, we urge the Department of Commerce to prioritize individual examinations of Irving and Catalyst through the expedited review process,” it said.

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