(外紙報道) 中国、コート紙税を回避

The Wall Street Journal 紙は10月3日付で、中国がコート紙の品質を変えて課税を逃れているとの記事を掲載した。
そのなかで、Appleton Coated LLC 社上級副社長のコメントとして、中国のコート紙全体の輸出量は変わっておらず、まだ価格および需要に大きな変化はないと記した。

(外紙報道) 中国、コート紙税を回避” への1件のコメント

  1. China Firms Avoid Paper Tariff
    (WSJ 2007/10/6)
    Almost six months after implementation, the U.S. government’s attempt to slow the import of cheap coated paper from China has worked — somewhat.
    The government’s first-ever Chinese countervailing tariff, a duty imposed to offset foreign government subsidies, sought to even the playing field for U.S. coated-paper producers, already under pressure amid an industry shift to online advertising.
    But while there is evidence of slowing imports, figures from U.S. Customs and forest-products-industry research firm RISI Inc. indicate Chinese producers have changed their paper recipe to move it out of the tariff category.
    ‘We haven’t really seen any significant change in price or demand for our products,’ said Ann Whalen, senior vice president of marketing and customer service for Appleton Coated LLC, a Kimberly, Wis., maker of coated freesheet owned by French paper group Sequana Capital SA.
    Ms. Whalen said it appears Chinese producers are exporting a roughly similar volume of coated paper to the U.S. but shipping some of it under a different category. By shipping coated paper that contains at least 10% bleached chemi-thermal mechanical pulp, Chinese producers can classify it as coated mechanical paper rather than coated freesheet, said John Maine, vice president of World Graphic Papers for RISI. Coated mechanical paper is cheaper and of lower quality and contrast than coated freesheet.
    According to RISI, China shipped 148,000 short tons of coated freesheet and 925 short tons of coated mechanical paper to the U.S. in the first six months of 2006. But in the first half of 2007, coated freesheet imports dropped to 75,000 tons, while coated mechanical imports increased to 41,000 tons.
    ‘[The tariff] has clearly had an impact to some degree, but it has not been as large as originally anticipated,’ Mr. Maine said.
    Figures from U.S. Customs through July paint an even starker picture, said Paul Leclair, chief economist for the Montreal-based Pulp and Paper Products Council.
    In all of 2006, China shipped 11,000 tons of coated mechanical paper to the U.S., compared with 256,000 tons of coated freesheet. Through July, China already has shipped up to 61,000 tons of coated mechanical, while coated freesheet shipments were down 62%, Mr. Leclair said.
    The two largest producers of coated freesheet paper in the U.S. declined to comment specifically on the impact of the tariffs on their businesses.
    NewPage Corp., a privately held Dayton, Ohio, company that brought the original complaint that led to the tariff, said in a statement that correcting unfair trade practices will create a level playing field.
    Sappi Ltd., a South African forest-products company with large coated-paper operations in the U.S., said it probably would provide further comment when it reports fourth-quarter results Nov. 8.
    Neither of the Chinese companies involved in the issue, Shandong Chenming Paper Holdings Ltd. and Asia Pulp & Paper Co. unit Gold East Paper Co., responded to email requests for comment.
    Substitution like this isn’t a surprising trade tactic, said Ivan Easton, professor of forest resources and director of the Center for International Trade in Forest Products at the University of Washington.
    In 1998, during the decadelong dispute between the U.S. and Canada over softwood-lumber imports, Canadian producers got around the duty for a time by punching a hole in each board, therefore moving it into the so-called value-added category and placing it under another customs code, Mr. Easton said.
    The U.S. government acted on the China issue after it said that country’s economy had developed to the point where it was now possible to quantify the degree to which the Chinese government, in effect, subsidized manufacturers of coated freesheet paper
    This exposed Chinese companies to U.S. antisubsidy laws for the first time and triggered a change in U.S. policy that has been in place for more than 20 years.
    China’s delegation to the World Trade Organization notified its U.S. counterpart Sept. 14 that it was asking the WTO for consultation on the issue. If the U.S. and China don’t reach an agreement in 60 days, China can ask the WTO to set up a panel to settle the dispute.
    For its part, the U.S. Department of Commerce has scheduled the final phase of its countervailing duty investigation, which will include a hearing Oct. 18.
    The tariffs imposed range from 10.9% to 20.4%. They also have been imposed, to a lesser degree, on imports from Indonesia and South Korea.
    International trade issues aside, the coated-paper market in the U.S. is going through a structural transition of its own as more advertising migrates online, said Dennis Ruggles, forest products analyst for Fitch Ratings.
    Publishers of glossy magazines and catalogs are using less coated freesheet paper, and some publishers may even be switching to lower-quality coated mechanical paper to lower their costs, he said.
    ‘As long as we have a shift in mediums for communication to electronic from print, the decline is going to continue,’ Mr. Ruggles said.
    This structural shift finally began triggering coated-machine curtailments in North America mid-year, said Mr. Maine of RISI.
    ‘There was a very rapid shift in the whole market in June, when three capacity closures were announced over a short period of time,’ Mr. Maine said.
    Those curtailments appear to have had an impact on pricing. Pulp & Paper Week reported that coated-paper prices increased an average of $5 to $15 per ton in September, J.P. Morgan analyst Claudia Shank wrote in a recent report.
    ‘We view these increases as important for both coated and uncoated freesheet, given recent substitution trends,’ she said.
    If prices for coated papers dip, some coated-paper producers can easily turn off their coaters and switch to uncoated freesheet, making the market more competitive for such uncoated players as Domtar Corp. and International Paper Co., said Steven Chercover, an analyst with D.A. Davidson & Co.
    Paula L. Stepankowsky