The U.S. House has passed a bill that would allow the United States to apply tariffs on illegally subsidized goods exported from China. U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud said the bill directly impacts Maine paper mills operated by NewPage Corp. and Sappi Fine Paper North America.
According to a press release from Michaud, a co-sponsor of the bill, the Senate is expected to quickly consider the bill and clear it for approval by President Obama. It reverses a recent court decision and allows the U.S. Commerce Department to levy tariffs against goods, such as coated paper, from China and some other countries that receive illegal subsidies. According to Michaud, from 2002 to 2009, China provided more than $33 billion in subsidies to paper products that are then sold in the United States for less than fair market value.
Laid-off workers from Sappi and NewPage were eligible for benefits in the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which help workers who lost their jobs as a result of foreign competition. Sappi has mills in Skowhegan and Westbrook, while NewPage has a mill in Rumford.