A NAFTA panel has sided with Port Hawkesbury Paper in directing the U.S. Department of Commerce to reconsider issues on which the department based imposing border duties, including the electricity rate paid by the mill.
A North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel recently ruled in favour of the Point Tupper paper mill in the latest step of the lengthy process that began in 2015.
The five-person panel was comprised of three officials from the U.S. and two from Canada.
“The allegations that were made by the Department of Commerce and our defence of them were shared with the panel and then the panel reviewed all of the facts … the decision was certainly in support of our defence that the allegations were in our opinion not accurate,” Marc Dube, business development manager with Port Hawkesbury Paper, said in an interview Monday.
The trade action came as the result of a petition filed by two American producers of supercalendered paper that say the Canadian paper goods are unfairly subsidized. In the case of Port Hawkesbury Paper, at issue was the aid package it received in 2012 valued at about $124.5 million from the province to reopen the mill after a year-long sales process, as well as a special electricity rate that it receives.
“In the opinion of the panel, it was a process that was done in the appropriate way,” Dube said. “It’s a very positive step in the process but now the Department of Commerce has a period of time to review the facts from the board and decide on their next steps.”
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