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Dear PM:

I believe your editorial speaks to the heart of the problem within the "mature" paper industries of North America and Western Europe, e.g., unwillingness to seize the opportunity that an expanding global market provides to aggressive companies.

I believe this "attitude" of unwillingness to change sales strategies is partly due to the idea, especially among North American companies, that the paper market is still "domestic" in North America (and Western Europe) and fail to recognize or accept that growth lies elsewhere and has to be aggressively pursued. The markets in NAM and WEU are still large, but they are contracting, or at best, stablized and these consumers are easy pickings for low cost alternative suppliers, such as pulp and paper products from LAM or APAC or EEU.

The Finns and Swedes, being long time exporters of P&W paper products, are being much more aggressive in opening new markets, but like Canadian manufacturers, who also have exported pulp and paper for decades, mostly to the US, are still suffering because they remain reluctant to deal with their high cost issues, labor among them. Although the Finns have recently tackling the labor issue head on by closing mills and taking work stoppages.

To me, and I may be one of those "nostalgic pessimists," the strategy being considered or employed by the publicly held companies from North America all include retraction from the global market and downsizing to adjust to our "domestic" market. When the Latin Americans discover they can make uncoated and coated free sheet to sell at a profit in the USA, while their own domestic market expands to take up the capacity, we can say goodbye to that market as well.

For what it is worth,

International Sales Director

Dear PM:

Right on Target. A lot of the people who are "old-timers" in thinking need to retire.

Pulp and Paper School Executive

PaperMoney welcomes your questions and comments on any topic pertaining to the pulp and paper industry world wide. Use the feedback forms at the bottom of each article, or address your comments to AskPM@globalpapermoney.org.


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