Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, Canada 18 November 2015 -- (Press Release) -- Earlier today, Port Hawkesbury Paper filed for an appeal under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with respect to the trade petition filed by two American paper manufacturers, Verso and UPM Madison against the Canadian supercalendered paper industry. This filing effectively initiates PHP's NAFTA appeal of the erroneous decisions made by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the International Trade Commission (ITC). NAFTA appeals were also filed concurrently by the Canadian government and on behalf of the Provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.
The decision by PHP to file a NAFTA appeal followed the ITC's affirmative determination this morning on the "harm" issue, where the ITC voted (incorrectly in our view) that there had been material injury to the U.S. supercalendered industry as a result of Canadian imports. While we are disappointed by the ITC's decision, we are keen to have the opportunity for our case to be heard by an impartial NAFTA panel of five Canadian and U.S. international trade legal experts.
In addition to the NAFTA appeal, the mill is in the process of evaluating various other appeal options - including through the World Trade Organization - in close coordination with the Canadian and Nova Scotia governments. In the past two weeks, numerous parties (i.e., the Canadian government, the Provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec, Port Hawkesbury Paper and Catalyst Paper) have also filed notices to commence appeals at the U.S. Court of International Trade.
PHP will continue to vigorously defend the erroneous duty and injury findings, which are not supported by the facts or the law. We are early in a long process, and based on the advice of our team of experienced trade legal counsel, we are very confident in our ability to reduce these duties substantially, or eliminate them entirely, as part of the process. Until the applicable reviews and/or appeals are concluded, the countervailing duties affecting the Canadian mills will continue to be subject to these countervailing duties and the duty payments we are required to make will be held in trust.
It is business as usual for Port Hawkesbury Paper. The mill will continue with its ongoing focus on producing the highest quality paper in the safest and most cost-effective manner possible, and providing the highest level of customer service. We will continue to constantly evaluate all aspects of our cost structure to ensure our long-term competitiveness and sustainability. And we will continue to invest in our mill to provide top quality paper and customer service.
We have the best supercalendered facility in North America, we have a skilled and committed workforce, a strong base of customers, a solid core of suppliers and partners; and we are grateful for the continued support we receive from our community here in Nova Scotia. We look forward to remaining a leader in the industry for many years to come.
Thank you for your interest. We will continue to keep our stakeholders updated. Should you have any questions, please contact me directly.