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Newsprint help eyed

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MONTREAL—Federal Natural Resources minister Jim Carr said yesterday his government is ready to help the country's newsprint industry after the U.S. Department of Commerce slapped a tariff on 25 Canadian paper plants.

Carr told a conference on forest industry products that Canada will continue fighting at the World Trade Organization and during NAFTA renegotiations against the “unjust and unjustified” protectionist measures introduced by the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Commerce in January slapped an overall preliminary countervailing tariff of 6.53 percent on about 25 Canadian plants, mostly in Quebec and Ontario, following an investigation that began in August.

Carr said he was open to a global approach to help the newsprint producers, similar to what his government did for the softwood lumber industry, after the U.S. imposed duties on that sector in 2017.

While he said he wasn't opposed to offering new money to the newsprint industry, Carr said Ottawa was looking into diverting some of the $867 million already set aside for the softwood lumber producers.

Canada's aid package to the softwood lumber industry includes loan guarantees, direct financing to provinces to help support workers, and investments into forest-product innovation programs.

“We're very keen to help the industry and very happy to sit down with representatives of the industry to talk about the most effective ways the government of Canada can help,” Carr said yesterday in Montreal.

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