Lawmakers call for Obama administration to support fair trade policies

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) joined a group of legislators on Wednesday who called on the Obama administration to support fair trade policies that protect American workers and manufacturers.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) joined Portman in calling on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske to ensure companies that import lightweight thermal paper from China and Germany pay the required duties.

Appvion, Inc., a paper company located in West Carrollton, Ohio, is among the companies that have been adversely affected by imported lightweight thermal paper (LWTP).

“We understand from Appvion that CBP officials at all levels have been receptive and cooperative,” the lawmakers said. “The problem, however, is that there does not appear to be any abatement in evading imports. If anything, Appvion tells us, the situation is getting worse. Dishonest importers seem to be saying ‘we aren’t worried, because no one seems to be getting caught.’ Thus, the perceived lack of action on the part of CBP, Homeland Security Investigations or Immigration and Customs Enforcement appears to have emboldened would be LWTP duty evaders.”

Appvion President and CEO Mark Richards said international trade rules are supposed to provide relief to companies that have been injured by dumping or subsidies.

“Unfortunately, as Appvion has found, some exporters and importers refuse to play by the rules by committing fraud and evading the duties,” Richards said. “We appreciate the efforts of our congressional supporters to work with the administration to strengthen enforcement, and to identify and address duty evasion and fraud.”