The U.S. Department of Commerce's Aug. 2 reduction of tariffs imposed earlier this year on Canadian newsprint won't relieve the burden on newspapers, industry officials say.
In January, the DOC set preliminary tariffs of up to 32 percent on uncoated groundwood paper from Canada in response to a complaint from a single paper mill located in Longview, Wash. At the end of the DOC investigation into the complaint, the tariffs were reduced to just over 20 percent for one large Canadian producer, Catalyst Paper Corp, just under 10 percent for two other big producers, and as little as around 1 percent for others.
While this was a positive step, the combined countervailing and antidumping duties still range up to 20 percent, depending upon the manufacturer, according to the News Media Alliance and the Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers (STOPP) coalition. The additional costs cannot be absorbed, especially by small community newspapers.
The DOC decision is not final. The International Trade Commission (ITC) will decide Aug. 29 whether to reverse the tariffs at the end of its investigation into whether imports have caused or threaten to cause material injury to the U.S. paper industry. The STOPP coalition is encouraging the ITC to reverse the tariffs. Newspaper publishers, U.S. paper industry officials, Canadian newsprint manufacturers and 19 members of Congress expressed opposition at a ITC hearing last month.
If the ITC does not reverse the tariffs, these duties will continue to cause harm in the marketplace, unless Congress stops them, according to the STOPP coalition, which urges newspaper companies, owners and publishers to contact their representatives and senators and ask them to co-sponsor the PRINT Act (S. 2835 / H.R. 6031). Introduced in May, the proposed legislation would suspend the collection of newsprint tariffs until further study is done on the impact on publishers and printers. The coalition has provided a new set of talking points to discuss when contacting elected officials about the issue.
To date, 31 senators and 38 representatives have co-sponsored the legislation. The coalition's goal is to reach 60 co-sponsors in the Senate and 100 in the House before Labor Day.