ICT halts tariffs on print

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The United States International Trade Commission on Aug. 29 halted tariffs on newsprint from Canada that was imposed by the Trump Administration earlier this year, according to reports.

According to The New York Times’ website, the decision was unanimous, and it eliminates tariffs that have been in effect since January. The decision benefits small and medium-size newspapers, which have struggled to meet the higher newsprint costs.

Sen. Doug Jones, along with other legislators, fought against the tariffs and sent a letter to the ITC urging the commission to vote against the tariffs.

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The tariffs were initially imposed in response to a complaint to the U.S. Department of Commerce made by a hedge fund-owned paper manufacturer, North Pacific Paper Co. (NORPAC), in Washington State, that claimed that Canadian government subsidies allowed their producers to sell newsprint at unfairly low prices.

“This is a huge win for our local newspapers, which are truly the lifeblood of their communities,” Jones said. “The vast majority of newsprint used by America’s newspapers is manufactured in Canada, not the United States.  The Administration’s tariffs were going to cost jobs, not save them.  Throughout this year, I have heard from publishers across Alabama that the significant cost increase of newsprint caused by these tariffs had placed a heavy burden on their already tight finances, forcing them to cut service or jobs, or both. I applaud the International Trade Commission for reversing these tariffs and letting commonsense prevail.”

Additionally, Jones cosponsored bipartisan legislation to suspend the tariffs while the Commerce Department examined the impacts of the tariffs on the printing and publishing industry. Most recently, he testified at a hearing of the ITC on this issue on the devastating consequences the tariffs would have for newspapers, particularly those that operate in small or rural communities.

“We applaud the International Trade Commission (ITC) for reaching a final, unanimous negative determination that Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper, which includes newsprint used by newspapers, do not cause material harm to the U.S. paper industry,” News Media Alliance President and CEO David Chavern said in a release.