Irving Paper has tariff reduced in NAFTA battle with U.S.

Irving Paper has tariff reduced in NAFTA battle with U.S.

Irving Paper Ltd. has had its tariff reduced from 18 per cent to 5.97 per cent by the United States Department of Commerce following its expedited review of supercalendered paper from Canada.

The reduction comes after the tariff was upheld earlier this week by the North American Free Trade Agreement panel that was hearing a challenge against unfair tariffs. 

The company was among several Canadian companies that challenged the International Trade Commission in Washington over the tariffs imposed on the glossy paper they exported to the U.S. from January to December 2014. 

The decision was released Thursday. 

Caught in complaint

Irving was caught in a net cast by the U.S. government when the Obama administration investigated a complaint filed by American papermakers about the $124-million Nova Scotia government bail-out of the Port Hawkesbury paper mill in 2012.

That trade action ensnared three other Canadian companies selling supercalendered paper into the U.S.: Irving, Catalyst Paper Corp. of British Columbia, and Quebec-based Resolute Forest Products.

Two of the companies, Irving and Catalyst Paper Corp., were slapped with duties of 11.19 per cent even though the U.S. didn't investigate them.

The rate was an average of the rates applied to Port Hawkesbury and Resolute.

The rate was increased to 18.85 per cent in October 2015, still based on an average, and still without Irving having an opportunity to argue its case in Washington.

At the time, Irving spokesperson Mary Keith called the action "completely unfair to Irving Paper and … inconsistent with the law."