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Melbourne paper company denies A4 dumping

Friday, 11 May 2018
By Graham Osborne
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(Photo: Central National)

Melbourne-based Central National Australia has denied it’s dumping cheap A4 paper onto the local market by importing Fuji Xerox Professional Paper from the Hankuk Paper company in South Korea.

Australian Paper, Australia’s only office paper manufacturer, claims the imported Fuji Xerox paper is being sold at prices cheaper than its flagship Reflex brand.

The Federal Government’s Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) is investigating allegations that five countries are exporting cheap copy paper to Australia.

In an application for a dumping notice, Japanese-owned Australian Paper told the ADC the local A4 copy paper market had suffered “material injury” caused by cheap A4 copy paper exported from South Korea, Austria, Finland, Russia and the Slovak Republic.

In a preliminary report, the ADC said: There appear to be reasonable grounds to support the claims that the Australian industry has experienced material injury in the form of price depression, loss of revenue and reduced profitability.

Dumping claims ‘simply not correct’: Scott Hordern, MD Central National Australia.

But in a submission to the ADC, Central National Australia (CNA) – a Wantirna South, Melbourne division of New York-based global pulp and paper company Central National – slammed Australian Paper’s claims and denied it was guilty of paper dumping.

“Central National is a sales company that works with numerous exporters selling paper and products (including copy paper) into Australia and New Zealand,” said MD Scott Hordern in a written submission that was heavily redacted before being published on the ADC site. “During the period of investigation, we worked with Hankuk Paper in promoting and selling their grades to wholesalers/distributors in the Australian market. At no time was it Hankuk Paper or Central National’s intention to cause injury to Australian Paper through price suppression.”

Part of the CNA submission.

Hordern called for an investigation of all of pricing in the market and criticized “the limited details put forward by Australian Paper” in their application for an investigation.

“Whilst Australian Paper suggests a market volume decline of 3% pa, we wish to highlight the significant increase in Australian Paper’s market share during the period – such a significant increase in market share does not correlate with a company experiencing injury from imports.”

Hordern said allegations that imports from South Korea undercut Australian Paper’s prices and contributed to a deterioration in prices “is simply not correct. The pricing of imports from Hankuk Paper during the period were always above the Australian Paper price levels of their lower tiered products.

“Australian Paper imply that Fuji Xerox Professional Paper from Hankuk is being sold at below Reflex pricing of $4.99/rm in their argument that Hankuk Paper’s product is hence causing injury. Whilst Australian Paper claims that Officework’s strategy means weekly discounts are rare, it is extremely likely that pricing of both these grades may have been discounted at the time of Australian Paper reporting.”

The ADC is investigating exports to Australia last year to look for evidence of dumping. It also intends to examine the Australian market from January 2014 for “injury analysis purposes” to see whether the dumped goods provide a basis for a dumping duty to apply retrospectively.

Australian Paper – owned by global giant Nippon Paper Group – is one of the largest employers in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

Central National Australia is the local office of Central National Division – a group with over US$3.5 billion of sales in the pulp and paper industry globally. The Australian office conducts sales between paper mills all over the world – Europe, Americas and Asia – and customers in Australia and New Zealand. The range of paper products sold covers publication (newsprint, magazine papers), packaging (all packaging uses) and printing and writing papers (coated paper, copy paper).

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