September 16, 2010
DR. KAGEN TAKES KAUKAUNA FAMILY’S STORY TO WASHINGTON
Kagen urges Commerce Department action against illegal trade practices at hearing
WASHINGTON D.C – Today, Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. fought to protect Wisconsin papermaking jobs and move a step closer to leveling the playing field for American companies against illegal trade practices by China.
"I am fighting hard to protect our jobs by closing tax loopholes that reward Wall Street run corporations for shipping our jobs overseas and by stopping other nations from stealing our jobs,” said Kagen. “On a level playing field, Wisconsin workers can compete and win against anyone in the world."
Reading from a hand-written letter by Tony Swanningson, a Kaukauna paper-worker, Kagen illustrated the impact of illegal paper dumping on Northeast Wisconsin:
“In 2009 I lost my job—through no fault of my own and through no fault of my company, Appleton Coated,” Swanningson wrote. “My job was stolen because somebody broke the law and that’s not right. This kind of cheating hurts people like me and my family. It hurts the production workers on the floor and it hurts our managers too.”
Kagen testified in front of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Commission (ITC) at the request of Appleton Coated, NewPage Corporation, Sappi Fine Paper and the United Steelworkers Union (USW) and demanded action from the body.
"The International Trade Commission must force China to stop cheating and begin to take our values – not our jobs,” said Kagen.
USW member Norbert Gossen expressed his confidence in Kagen.
“It’s great to have someone fighting for our jobs, our families and our communities,” Gossen said. “Dr. Kagen is on our side."
In 2009 the ITC unanimously determined “that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of certain coated paper suitable for high-quality print graphics using sheet-fed presses from China and Indonesia that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.”
The Commerce Department then concluded that Chinese and Indonesian manufacturers had sold coated paper in the United States at margins ranging from 30.82 to 135.8 percent, and 10.62 percent, respectively. In his testimony today, Kagen praised the commission for its earlier ruling.
“In the case of Appleton, you ruled correctly 6-0 that China had illegally dumped their products into the United States and now they are paying a fine,” Kagen said. “Now you have before you yet another case of illegal paper sales by China, and I trust you will come to the same conclusion: China is cheating and stealing our jobs, our homes and our future by dumping their illegal paper into our markets.”
The petitions allege that subsidies are being provided to Chinese paper producers, including low interest loans, tax relief, input considerations, land-use programs, grants, export tax relief and the pervasive undervaluation of China’s currency. Similarly, the petitions allege that Indonesian paper companies are benefiting from timber provided from government-owned land at below-market prices, a ban on log exports, government loans, debt forgiveness, and tax incentives for certain encouraged businesses.
Headquartered in Kimberly, with its manufacturing center in Combined Locks, Appleton Coated employs around 800 workers. A final ITC determination is scheduled for Nov. 1.
# # #