American paper companies have imposed a 20% duty on coated paper from the Port Hawkesbury Mill in Nova Scotia, while Irving Paper in New Brunswick and Catalyst Paper of Britsh Columbia have had a 18% tariff imposed. North Pacific Papers of Washington State has also filed for countervailing duties on Canadian uncoated groundwood paper from Canada. The Hawkesbury mill won on appeal in its first round with the NAFTA panel. The U.S. has until mid-summer to appeal that decision, while other cases are being appealed by both the Canadian Federal and Provincial governments. During a recent rally in Phoenix Arizona, U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. will “probably” terminate NAFTA because he doesn’t think a deal can be made. His comments come about a week after re-negotiation talks began. The U.S. has also formally demanded that the Chapter 19 dispute resolution panels favoured by Canada be scrapped. In the past, the majority of its decisions have been won by Canada. Ottawa has promised to walk away from the talks before it accepts a NAFTA without these panels. The first round of NAFTA talks held recently failed to bridge the differences between Canada, the USA and Mexico, and left little signs of any real compromises. Next month, Mexico will host the second round of talks from September 1-5. Talks will then move to Canada later in September and return to the United States in October.
Paper Excellence announced today that it will invest nearly $50 million to upgrade its Crofton mill’s paper operations and towards reductions in its carbon footprint. The investment sees the restart of its C2 paper machine putting over 100 employees back to making paper at the site. Paper operations were recently curtailed due to weakening Chinese paper markets and escalating input costs.
“This investment will enhance the development of innovative products that replace banned plastics with renewable paper while significantly reducing carbon emissions,” said Stew Gibson, Chief Operating Officer for Paper Excellence Canada. Gibson said that the Company has been working closely with Provincial and Federal Governments to restore value-added manufacturing jobs at Crofton. “The Government of Canada has contributed $14.3 million through Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program and the Government of British Columbia contributed $4.5 million in provincial funds to help make today’s announcement possible” added Gibson.
The C2 paper machine will be transformed to produce stronger, water-resistant paper grades which replace single-use plastics, while the investment also reduces natural gas consumption through more efficient use of waste bark fuel in the mill’s boiler. The result is a simultaneously improvement in Crofton’s competitiveness while reducing 26,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually equal to about 5,600 cars.
Overall, the $50 million investment diversifies markets, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and makes more efficient use of forest fibre. “We thank our partners in both the federal and British Columbia governments for their support towards this important project and the benefits to the surrounding community,” said Gibson. “These contributions are absolutely essential to restarting the paper operations and securing these rural jobs at the site.”
“Our investment today is the result of governments and business collaborating to innovate and create new, sustainable opportunities in forestry,” said British Columbia Premier David Eby. “By working together we can find solutions to the pressing challenges faced by many forestry workers and communities.”
“Canada’s forestry sector provides economic opportunities and good jobs in communities right across the country,” said The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources. “By supporting the development of innovative forest products and investing in projects such as the ones announced today, the federal government is helping to reduce emissions, eliminate harmful waste, build up strong local economies, and support good, sustainable, jobs.”
Paper Excellence will be working alongside Unifor Local 1132 and PPWC Local 2 at Crofton over the coming days to determine all details regarding the restart plan, including the official restart date in January. At this time, the C3 paper machine at Crofton will remain indefinitely curtailed.