Support for fair trades practices to be held at NewPage Friday

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RUMFORD — A call for continued action to provide a level playing field for U.S. paper manufacturers begins at 11 a.m. Friday at the NewPage Corp administrative building.

The April 9 event, according to Alliance for American Manufacturing’s Maine coordinator, Dan Lawson, will also serve to thank Maine’s congressional delegation for its support of implementing fair trading practices with China and Indonesia.

Lawson and/or Local 900 union activists have been attending numerous selectmen’s meetings during the past couple of months to get a resolution of support for fair trade practices from the towns.

In the Western Maine area, Rumford, Mexico, Peru, Dixfield, Hartford and Wilton are among the towns in support of the resolution.

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Larson said in an e-mail that U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine, state Senate President Libby Mitchell, D-Vassalboro, Rumford Town Manager Carlo Puiia, Mexico Town Manager John Madigan and Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce director Cory Polk, are among the people expected to attend. U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are sending staffers to the event.

Many of the speakers will describe the effect of the impact of cheap paper on the paper mills and the towns and people who live in and around those mills.

According to letters written by Michaud, Collins, and Snowe, paper manufacturers in China and Indonesia have subsidized the actual costs to produce those countries’ paper, so that it is lower priced than U.S. produced paper on the market.

As a result, job losses have occurred in many U.S. paper companies, including NewPage in Rumford.

Lawson said the resolutions supported by town officials, as well as nearly 700 letters written in support of the U.S. congressional delegations call for action, will be presented to the International Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Commerce later in the spring.

According to documents supplied by the United Steel Workers, a labor union that represents most NewPage employees, Appleton Coated LLC, NewPage Corp and Sappi Fine Paper North America, China and Indonesia have subsidized the actual price to produce coated paper by an average rate of 8.38 percent.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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