PaperAge Magazine

U.S. Newspaper Industry Fears Impact of Tariffs on Paper from Canada

Printing Newspapers The group Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers, or STOPP, includes a wide variety of organizations as well as American paper producers who believe the impact of these tariffs could be devastating to entire industries.

March 21, 2018 (The Indiana Gazette) - An association of state newspaper organizations gathered Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, to discuss tariffs proposed by the United States government on Canadian newsprint and other paper production.

Those tariffs are meant to stem cutbacks that have cost more than 2,000 manufacturing jobs in six years, but drew reaction from members of printing, publishing and paper-producing industries that employ more than 600,000 workers.

On Monday those industries announced formation of a coalition to fight proposed countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties of up to 32 percent on Canadian uncoated groundwood papers, including newsprint.

“We're trying to get answers on that and no one is saying anything,” said Mark Cohen, president of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, on his way to a meeting involving some of the larger newspaper organizations from such states as Florida, New York, Mississippi and Oregon, and some smaller regional groups.

“(PNA) represents Pennsylvania's 76 daily newspapers, and more than 150 non-daily newspapers, many of which serve small, rural communities,” Cohen and PNA board chairman Michael Donnelly, publisher of The Indiana Gazette, wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Jan. 17, after the first determination was announced.

The group Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers, or STOPP, includes a wide variety of organizations as well as American paper producers who believe the impact of these tariffs could be devastating to entire industries, including newspapers, paper producers and book publishers.

“Newsprint is the second-largest expense for small newspapers after human resource costs,” said Susan Rowell, publisher of the South Carolina's Lancaster News and president of the National Newspaper Association, a part of STOPP. “A decision by the federal government to impose tariffs on our paper supply would imperil our news-gathering missions and put jobs in jeopardy at our newspapers and at many other organizations and companies in our communities that rely upon a healthy newspaper.”

The U.S. Commerce Department announced decisions in January and last week aimed at the sale by Canadian exporters of uncoated groundwood paper at up to 22.16 percent less than fair value.

That's down from estimated dumping margins of 23.45 percent to 54.97 percent as alleged by petitioner North Pacific Paper Company or NORPAC of Longview, Washington.

“President Trump made it clear from the beginning that we will vigorously administer our trade laws to provide U.S. industry with relief from unfair trade practices,” Ross said on March 13. “(This) decision follows an open and transparent investigation in accordance with the applicable laws, regulations, and administrative practices that ensured a full and fair review of the facts.”

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr have expressed deep disappointment with “unjustified” duty rates, saying, “our government is committed to helping our forest industry enhance existing trade relationships and diversify trade with new international markets.”

Ross said enforcement of U.S. trade law has been a prime focus of President Donald Trump's administration. From Jan. 20, 2017, through last week, the secretary said his department has initiated 102 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations — a 96 percent increase from the same period in 2016-17.

NORPAC said the rulings could benefit groundwood paper mills in the states of Washington, Georgia and Mississippi, and possibly lead to the reopening of mills that closed since 2012, costing approximately 2,150 jobs.

“What the U.S. uncoated groundwood papers industry wants is a level playing field,” said NORPAC CEO Craig Anneberg after the first Commerce Department ruling in January. “This decision is an important step forward for American producers, workers and their families that have been the victims of unfair Canadian trade practices for too long.”

Go to the full story on The Indiana Gazette's website: Newspaper Industry Fears Impact of Tariffs on Paper from Canada.

SOURCE: The Indiana Gazette