Bolstered by the in-person appearance of 19 Members of Congress, America’s newspaper publishers, printers, retailers and small business made a compelling and substantive case for removing tariffs on newsprint produced in Canada during a hearing on July 17 before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
The message to the ITC was loud and clear: Import duties the U.S. Commerce Department slapped on newsprint to protect a single company are putting at risk the jobs of over 600,000 American workers in the paper, newspaper, retail, printing and publishing industries. A hike in the price of newsprint could push demand for the product way down and if newspaper and book publishers and advertisers buy less paper, then printers, equipment makers, and suppliers would also suffer.
Beyond this tangible economic impact, the tariffs threaten the existence of scores of local newspapers millions of Americans depend on for news and information relevant to their daily lives. Lawmakers warned the ITC this would weaken the viability and meaning of the First Amendment freedoms, create news deserts and undermine the sense of community in the towns and rural areas they represent. If local and regional newspapers close, scale back on coverage, or exist only online, the concept of a democracy of informed citizens will be forever weakened.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed tariffs, as high as 30 percent, on newsprint imported from Canada in response to claims by North Pacific Paper Company that Canada is distorting free and fair trade with a host of subsidies provided to paper mills north of the border. NORPAC’s claims are belied by the fact that the rest of the U.S. paper industry opposes the tariffs. The paper industry in North America has long been characterized by logistical considerations that make robust cross-border investment and integration the norm. NORPAC, which is owned by a New York private equity firm, with no additional pulp or paper operations in the United States or globally, stands alone in its support for the tariffs.
More than 11,000 Americans, from all 50 states, have already registered their opposition to the newsprint tariffs in a petition delivered to the ITC.
The STOPP coalition has assembled extensive evidence that the tariffs are already harming the U.S. printing and publishing industries. If the tariffs continue, the harm will extend to newspapers, commercial printing, and book publishing operations, and cause a ripple effect throughout the supply chain, affecting paper manufacturers, ink suppliers, fuel producers, equipment manufacturers and others.
More than 90 members of the U.S. House and Senate have written letters objecting to these tariffs and more than a quarter of senators have co-sponsored legislation requesting the U.S. Department of Commerce to pause the tariffs for an impact study. In addition, letters of objection were also sent from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Communications Workers of America.
Testified in person on July 17:
U.S. Sen Bob Casey (D-PA)
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL)
U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-ME)
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)
U.S. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)
U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY)
U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley (R-WV)
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI)
U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC)
U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
U.S. Rep. David Trott (R-MI)
Filed letters or testimony with the ITC on July 17: