Paper Force to fight anti-dumping decision   |  

Australian paper distributor Paper Force will appeal a decision by the Australian government to impose anti-dumping duties on exports of tissue paper products to Australia.

Anti-dumping duties have been imposed following findings in December by the Australian Customs Service that exports from China were being dumped on the Australian market.

Paper Force, along with PT Pindo Deli and Gold Hong Ye – two pulp mills which are managed by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) in Indonesia and China respectively – believe there are strong grounds for appealing the Customs findings based on Australian and WTO anti-dumping rules.

Paper Force spokesman Steve Nicholson told ProPrint, “What this means is that imports from those two mills, as of January 1, will have import duties of 40 per cent and eight per cent, over and above the existing five per cent tariff. Until such time as we successfully appeal that decision it will be uneconomic to bring those commodities, tissue products, into the country.

“We are very confident in our appeal. We believe the process is flawed, and there are several fronts on which we will base our appeal. We are extremely confident that we will have this appeal upheld to turn around this decision. It will take about three months for that to happen.”

The products in question are primarily for the Select brand of tissue products, for which Paper Force won the tender in August 2006 and which expired in August 2008.

“This is the nonsensical part,” continued Nicholson. “During that time, these products were well under ten per cent of the category share. However, there are only a clutch of major producers in this country and two of those were petitioners for this dumping claim. In terms of injury to the industry – this is one of the fronts in which we will vigorously contest this decision – they contend that these products, which occupied less than ten per cent market share, were having an impact on existing brands.

“I don’t believe there has been injury to the industry, and certainly not from exports from Indonesia and China. Simply have a look at the volume. How can that share of less then ten per cent injure the icon brands in the market?

“You only have to look at the market shares of the leading tissue brands to see where the injury has really come from. If you look at the four major brands and the share-of-market switches that have been occurring in the last four years, that will tell you where the injury has come from.”

As well as the anti-dumping decision, APP believes it has been the victim of a prolonged programme of unsubstantiated rumours regarding its environmental practices in both Indonesia and China.

“There seems to be some ‘orchestration’ here,” said Nicholson. “We’ve been under sustained attack ever since we successfully tendered for the Woolworths business. Up until then nobody knew about us and nobody bothered to talk about us. But it seems that since then we’ve been ‘focused on’.”

The company maintains that its major paper mills in both China and Indonesia are Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified, and operate a “zero tolerance approach” to illegally logged timber entering the company’s supply chain. The supply chain is itself monitored by SGS, a leading international environmental auditor.

“Asia Pulp & Paper is committed to sustainable forestry, pulp and paper industry in China, Indonesia and around the world,” said Nicholson. “We are disappointed that APP’s Australian customers continue to face ill-informed and inaccurate misrepresentations about our sustainability record.”

APP and its fibre suppliers employ 70,000 people directly in Indonesia and hundreds of thousands of people indirectly which, the company says, helps to alleviate poverty, a prime cause of deforestation. APP believes that environmentally-sustainable private enterprise has a key role to play in tackling that poverty.

by Steve Crowe
Jan 14, 2009