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USDA Publishes Final Rule, Establishing Paper Check-off Program
(Editor's Note: The following is based on press releases from AF&PA on January 22, 2014.)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the final rule for the Paper and Paper-based Packaging Promotion program (Paper Check-off). The rule establishes the program and states the assessment of 35 cents per short ton on printing and writing, containerboard, paperboard and Kraft paper will begin on March 1, 2014. Companies assessed are ones producing or importing 100,000 short tons or more of the four covered grades. Newsprint and carbonless papers are not included in the program.

“Now that the Paper Check-off rule is final, the industry is ready to get started on the important work ahead to promote paper and paper-based packaging,” said Paper Check-off Panel Chairman John Williams, president and CEO of Domtar. “The value and benefits of our products is a story that consumers deserve to hear, and the Paper Check-off will provide the opportunity to tell that story.”

The paper industry voted overwhelmingly to create the Paper and Paper-based Packaging Promotion and Research program (Paper Check-off) in the November referendum. The publication of the final rule now puts in motion the steps to create the program. The Paper Check-off Panel has sent its recommendations for board seat nominations to USDA. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will appoint the 12-person board responsible for overseeing the program.

"Today's action marks the beginning of the next chapter for our industry to tell the positive story about the benefits of paper and paper-based packaging," said AF&PA Board Chairman David Scheible, president and CEO of Graphic Packaging International. "The Paper Check-off will build a promotional program to showcase the positive attributes of our products."

The Paper Check-off was initiated by a panel of industry leaders and approved by the companies through a USDA referendum.

"Our members are eager to see the Paper Check-off become a reality, giving our industry and its products the opportunity to be recognized for the value they provide to consumers everywhere," said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. "We commend the Paper Check-off Panel for its work to coalesce the industry in support of this program, as well as the efforts of USDA to finalize the program."

For more information about the program, visit papercheckoff.com or contact Chuck Fuqua/Jessica McFaul at AF&PA at comm@afandpa.org.


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