Three paper companies and the United Steelworkers have filed an antidumping case against China and Indonesia, a move that threatens to raise tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners, reports The Wall Street Journal.
According to the Journal, the petitioners filed their complaint on the eve of the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh. The complaint alleges China and Indonesia have been dumping tons of shiny, coated paper used, for example, in car brochures and annual reports. The Journal says that the case is being pursued through a different legal avenue than the one that produced the tire tariffs and does not require approval by U.S. President Barack Obama.
The case highlights the growing role of labor unions in U.S. trade issues, says the Journal. During his election campaign, Obama promised to get tougher on trade – and unions now demand that he makes good on his promise.
The Journal says China and Indonesia are thought to account for nearly 30% of the U.S. market for coated paper in the first half of 2009, nearly double their share from the first half of 2008. Total U.S. sales for coated paper in 2008 was estimated at $1.8 billion.
The paper companies mentioned in the Journal report are NewPage Corp., Appelton Coated LLC of Kimberly, Wis., and Sappi Fine Paper North America, the U.S. arm of South Africa's Sappi Ltd.