APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Ltd.) –partner of the Finnish UPM-Kymmene- is known for its permanent violations to human rights and depredatory environmental practices in Indonesia. Lately APRIL has been the cause of local conflicts between villagers and workers in Indonesia (see WRM Bulletin 17, November 1998).
In face of the severe difficulties that the Indonesian economy is currently facing, APRIL has not been able to find financing for a second paper machine in Riau Province. The transnational is therefore trying to expand to a new and potentially huge market: China. UPM Kymmene and its partner APRIL recently signed a loan agreement of U$S 250 million with Chase Manhattan Bank and Citicorp International for their Chinese joint venture: Asia Pacific Forest Products (Suzhou) Pte. Ltd. (AP Suzhou). AP Suzhou will establish a 350,000 tonnes per year fine paper mill that is expected to start operating early next year in Changshu, China and has already a 30,000 tonnes per year converting plant, currently in operation in Suzhou, both near Shanghai. UPM-Kymmene and APRIL hold equal 49% positions in AP Suzhou.
Source: Otto Miettinen, Friends of the Earth/Finland, based on: “UPM-Kymmene and its partner April took a billion-loan for their Chinese plants”, Helsingin Sanomat, 2/12/1998; UPM-Kymmene Corporation and APRIL Press release, 1/12/1998.