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Irving Tissue Paper – Part of the J.D. Irving, Limited Integrated Forest Products Businesses – Is In The Crossfire Of A Trade Dispute Filed By Two US Producers Against Four Canadian Manufacturers; As A Result, Irving Paper Is Being Penalized by Commerce Department For Other Companies’ Unfair Trade Practices


Senator Says The Unproven Allegations Are Negatively Impacting Irving Paper’s Ability To Plan Future Expansion of Their Business In Washington County & Suppresses the Creation of New Potential Local Jobs


Schumer: If You Play By The Rules, You Shouldn’t Be Punished For Others’ Mistakes


Standing at Irving Tissue in Ft. Edward in Washington County, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today toured the facility in Fort Edward and urged the Commerce Department to investigate Irving in a case that is currently forcing the company to pay an 11 percent fine at the U.S.-Canadian border. Schumer said this 11 percent subsidy rate, which is the direct result of other companies’ unfair trade practices (but not that of Irving), is hurting potential job growth and further investment in Washington County.


Schumer explained that the Commerce Department included four companies suspected of receiving Canadian subsidies in a countervailing duty case to determine if the companies had in fact engaged in unfair trade practices. Since Irving has a Canadian facility producing the paper product being investigated, it was among the companies in the case. However, Schumer explained, the Commerce Department only investigated two of the four companies, not including Irving, and found that Canadian subsidies were being received by the two companies. Following its initial review, the Commerce Department levied an 11 percent cash deposit on Irving, effectively a 11 percent fine at the U.S.-Canadian border, based on the average subsidy rates found for the two companies that were investigated. Irving projects this fine to amount to $40 million a year.


“We should not punish one company just because others did not play by the rules,” said Schumer. The Commerce Department handed down a preliminary determination without analyzing all of the evidence and despite only investigating half of the companies that may have received Canadian subsidies, they levied huge border fines on all of them. For Irving Tissue, this fine hurts their ability to create jobs at their Ft. Edward facility and continue growing in Washington County.”


According to company executives, Irving Tissue regularly looks for new investment opportunities to improve and expand their integrated forestry businesses, including the Irving Tissue facility, and this $40 million annual fine could negatively impact the company’s investments. Schumer said Irving deserves a fair shot in the investigation to prove their fair practices. Schumer said, if the fine is dropped, it would greatly protect existing jobs and potentially lead to increased investment and job creation at the Ft. Edward Plant.


The Commerce Department applied the 11 percent fine without finding that Irving conducted unfair trade practices. As a result, Schumer said Irving, should not be punished for others’ mistakes. If the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission make positive final determinations in this case, Irving could be assessed a long-term duty. This would lessen Irving’s their ability to put their revenue toward expanding in Washington County, starting new projects and creating future jobs. Irving Tissue employs more than 300 people at the Fort Edward plant in Washington County and continues to be an economic anchor in the area with a capital investment of approximately $288 million since buying the mill in 1996.


During his visit, Schumer explained Irving is willing to serve as a voluntary respondent in this case so it can be investigated by the Commerce Department and have a fair shot at defending its name and trade practices. According to company executives, Irving is asking to have Commerce Department investigators examine their trade practices so the company can prove it did not engaged in unfair trade practices and attempt to avoid a long-term duty.


Schumer said this unfair fine could prevent the company from potentially expanding their integrated forestry businesses, including in places like Washington County. Because this fine could negatively impact the company over the long term, Schumer said it is only fair that the Commerce Department investigate Irving rather than force Irving to pay an 11 percent fine based on others who engaged in unfair trade practices. Schumer said removing this mistaken application of the high fine would protect the existing jobs and potentially lead to increased investment and job creation at the Ft. Edward Plant.


In July 2015, Schumer called Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to urge her department to investigate Irving Tissue as a voluntary respondent in the case, citing that it deserves a fair shot in the investigation to prove their fair practices.


Schumer was joined by Mr. James Irving, Co-CEO of J.D. Irving, Limited; Bill Hart, Vice President, US Business Operations for Irving Tissue; James Lindsay, Chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors; and Matt Traver, Mayor of the Village of Fort Edward.


“Senator Schumer is a great champion for good paying manufacturing jobs in upstate New York,”  said Jim Irving, Co-CEO of J.D. Irving, Limited.  “We appreciate his support in addressing the unfair duty on Irving Paper. We operate an integrated forest products value chain‎ - each link from the forests to the tissue we make at Fort Edward is vital to sustain local jobs, purchases and investment. We are committed to our operations here in Fort Edward and for almost 20 years have grown over 150 jobs and invested over $288 million in modernizing the mill since 1996. Senator Schumer's dedication to sustaining competitive US manufacturing jobs is a welcome vote of confidence in the skilled men and women who work in our New York operations.”