Pounds: Predatory pricingWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the sad bastardizations of capitalism is predatory pricing. Yes, competitive pricing is a clear benefit to consumers, but when taken to an abusive extreme, the practice is a cudgel used to thwart the open market and harm smaller businesses.
I was heartened to see that Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) have asked President Barack Obama to protect employment at Appleton Papers, Inc. in West Carrollton, Ohio. According to a news release, “Brown and Portman led a bipartisan group of eight senators and representatives in calling on the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose duties on a foreign paper producer. A preliminary investigation shows that the company manipulated data to avoid paying antidumping duties, hurting domestic manufacturing at companies like Appleton, Inc.”
According to the Commerce Department, German exporter Papierfabrik August Koehler AG and Koehler America Inc. — known as Koehler — “sold its merchandise at a less than normal value and had deliberately manipulated data to avoid paying antidumping duties for imports on lightweight thermal paper.”
“We cannot allow foreign companies to get away with predatory pricing that undermines our economic growth and shutters our factories,” Brown said. “Dumping allows foreign paper companies to undersell U.S. companies, including Appleton Papers. As a result, manufacturing workers have lost jobs and communities have been forced to deal with plant closures. I commend the Commerce Department on the work they’ve done so far to curb unfair trading practices and urge them to continue protecting American jobs by imposing duties on Koehler paper sold in the United States.”
“American workers, like those in West Carrollton, can compete and win on a level playing field. However, when foreign competitors don’t play by the rules, we must stand up to ensure fair competition and enforcement of the laws on the books,” Portman said. “In 2011, I worked with my colleagues to protect Appleton’s workers from unfair imports and was successful in getting the administration to reverse their position. Ohio manufacturers like Appleton need our continued support and I urge the Commerce Department to strongly support their case.”
Those businesses that engage in predatory pricing should be held fully accountable and punished to the fullest extent of applicable laws. There are many examples in our media industry of those who have rigged their pricing to unfairly hurt competitors, and who have paid dearly for it when their actions were exposed.
Thanks to our Ohio senators for making this an issue and for fighting for businesses that are being battered by an unAmerican practice.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.