By Thomas Gnau

Staff Writer

A local manufacturer is celebrating a U.S. trade ruling against a competitor.

Appleton Papers, which has a West Carrollton mill, hailed a determination by the U.S. Commerce Department that a Germany-based paper manufacturer “manipulated” sales prices of lightweight thermal paper, which is also an Appleton product.

The Commerce Department deemed that Papierfabrik August Koehler AG (Koehler) engaged in “fraudulent conduct” and a “pattern of deception,” and the department imposed a duty of 75.36 percent on lightweight thermal paper sold by the company into the U.S.

Importers of that product from Koehler must now post cash deposits in the amount of the 75.36 percent duty, Appleton noted. Those deposits go to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Appleton said it receives no part of the tariffs, nor does the company recover damages associated with the unfair trade practices.

“The Commerce Department confirmed that Koehler has been engaged in a scheme to defraud the department by intentionally concealing certain home market transactions which should have been reported,” Mark Richards, Appleton’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Koehler’s actions were calculated and indefensible.”

Last year, Appleton, Wisc.-based Appleton chose to have Domtar supply most of its base paper. The change resulted in the loss of 330 jobs at the company’s 1030 W. Alex-Bell Road mill. Today, about 113 workers remain at the site. Another 10 Appleton employees work at the Monroe Distribution Center.