China and Indonesia illegally dump paper in the U.S. through subsidies on chemical supplies, timber supplies and energy, manipulating their currencies and big breaks on their loans. This allows those countries to flood our market with artificially cheap paper.
Those who work here in the paper industry have their job security threatened by this. As we lose jobs and close paper mills, the fallout in the community is huge. Wages in a primary industry such as this turn over three to five times as it is spent in the community.
A laid-off worker does not have the same income to spend in town. He/she may become dependent on local and state social services, which is a drain on the community. But the bigger picture is even more daunting.
This same worker can no longer support the local grocery store, the hospital, doctors and dentists, restaurants, auto repair or other businesses. Now these businesses are threatened. Workers may have to move away to find opportunities. This would further erode the local housing market.
The mill itself could face pressure to close. This would cripple the tax base. Financing for the school system would take a nose dive; town services would have to be cut.
Illegal dumping of paper must be stopped before it’s too late. It’s illegal and our government needs to enforce the rules. Duties and tariffs must be applied. Our government officials need to act now!
Ron Hemingway, Dixfield