POINT TUPPER: The local paper mill received some positive news about its appeal.

On April 13, Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP) was given notice of a positive decision coming from a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel. A release from the mill states the process began in November 2016 when the mill participated in a NAFTA panel hearing as part of its appeal of the countervailing duties levied on Canadian paper mills by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) in 2015.

Marc Dube, PHP development manager said one of the major issues related to electricity.

“It was… just under a 15 per cent duty for electricity and in the case of electricity, the panel was unanimous as they were on all of the items they reviewed, they were unanimous that the allegations were unfounded,” he said.

The DOC will now have time to review the panel’s report and have the opportunity to appeal the report if there are points of law or trade with which they do not agree. After that, the DOC will review the local mill again, likely this summer.

“They’ll review any allegations that they put forward in a list of questions we’ll have to answer,” he said. “Depending on that, there may be a change in the tariff. They may take the NAFTA panel report as part of that moving forward but really it’s up to them how they want to approach it in the next steps.”

Dube said he was pleased to receive a positive result in this step of the process.

“This was a really important step and I think it really validated the work that we’ve done and what we’ve been saying since the beginning,” said Dube. “We were very happy that the panel reviewed the information and came back with the report that they did.”