Catalyst officials, union leaders and local politicians met in the Premier’s office yesterday, to figure out ways to fight back against duties and tarrifs put on their paper products by the Trump administration.
The company and various levels of government are hoping to overturn the tariffs totaling 28 per cent as a result of a complaint by Catalyst’s American competitor, Washington state-based Norpac.
Port Alberni Mayor Mike Ruttan was at the meeting, and says the federal government needs to give the issue as much attention as it did recently to settle American tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Ruttan said the tariffs don’t affect Catalyst’s Port Alberni operations directly, as the coated and directory paper manufactured here are currently exempt.
But the viability of the entire company, and many other forest companies that depend on Catalyst could be affected as the duties are still costing the company $4 million a month.
Catalyst Paper employs more than 1,200 people in Port Alberni, Crofton, and Powell River, and while no layoffs have occurred at the mills, the threat is there.
Powell River has shut down their newsprint machine for 3 weeks, blaming a lack of fibre as well as the American tariffs.