U.S. Lawmakers, Printers and Publishers Testify Against Import Tariffs on Canadian Newsprint (7/27/2018)

U.S. Lawmakers, Printers and Publishers Testify Against Import Tariffs on Canadian Newsprint (7/27/2018) 

On July 17, Congressional lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, publishers, printers, newspaper advocacy groups, and newsprint paper producers testified in Washington before the International Trade Commission (ITC) to express their strong opposition to preliminary paper tariffs.

According to a report published earlier this week on PiWorld (Philadelphia, Penn., USA) written by contributor Mark Michelson, with all of the talking heads on television news stations pontificating about the prospects for an international trade war initially fueled by tariffs that have been implemented by the Trump administration – including imported steel and aluminum – the import tariffs that are currently being imposed on Canadian uncoated groundwood papers (newsprint) aren’t capturing any attention within the electronic media.

Even so, according to Michelson, July 17 was a pivotal day for the printing and publishing industry as more than a dozen Congressional lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, publishers, printers, newspaper advocacy groups, and newsprint paper producers testified in Washington before the International Trade Commission (ITC) to express their strong opposition to the preliminary paper tariffs.

"The tariffs will hurt the U.S. paper industry because they will cause permanent harm to newspapers, printers and book publishers, shrinking the U.S. paper industry’s customer base," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) during her testimony before the ITC. "In fact, the tariffs will likely lead to less production of newsprint by U.S. manufacturers as customers cut their consumption once and for all. This is simply not the way Congress intended the trade laws to work."

The ITC is reportedly slated to vote on Aug. 28 whether or not to make the import tariffs permanent. And the U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to render its decision on the matter by Aug. 2. Current tariffs on imported Canadian newsprint, which largely impact U.S. newspaper, book, directory and circular printers and publishers, will become permanent if both organizations vote in favor to keep them in place.

In January, the Department of Commerce assessed preliminary countervailing duties on uncoated groundwood ranging from 4.4% to 9.9%, depending on the Canadian paper manufacturer. Then, it later added preliminary antidumping duties, on top of the countervailing tariffs, of up to 22.16%, resulting in total tariffs of up to 32% now being imposed.

The preliminary countervailing and antidumping duties by the Department of Commerce emanate from a complaint filed by North Pacific Paper Corp. (NORPAC), a single-location paper manufacturer located in Longview, Wash., which is owned by a New York-based hedge fund. NORPAC is reported as one of five newsprint paper mills still remaining in the U.S. It was noted as the only one (so far) to file an antidumping complaint.