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Tariffs are a war against newspaper and publishing industry; help in our defense: Mark Cohen

Posted 4/10/18

As a newspaper reader, advertiser or member of the community, your source of local, regional and national news and information is being threatened by the proposed newspaper tariffs on the import of …

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Tariffs are a war against newspaper and publishing industry; help in our defense: Mark Cohen

Posted

As a newspaper reader, advertiser or member of the community, your source of local, regional and national news and information is being threatened by the proposed newspaper tariffs on the import of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada – the type that is used to print this newspaper and others across the state.  

Tariffs also threaten local jobs and, in essence, create pressure to lower costs which could affect content. To remain vital, newspapers simply cannot allow this to impact their business model.

Last August, North Pacific Paper Co. of Longview, Washington, petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to begin applying tariffs to newsprint imported from Canada, claiming the imported paper was harming the U.S. newsprint industry.

In truth, NORPAC is not acting in the best interests of newsprint consumers or the U.S. paper industry at large — it is simply acting in their own interest. Since the United States does not produce enough newsprint for the U.S. market to survive, affordable Canadian paper has been a viable option that has helped keep the printed news alive and flourishing.

Newsprint is one of the highest expense items at all papers, and any significant increase in price, in the form of tariffs, could result in profound consequences. The combination of preliminary countervailing and antidumping duties increases the cost of imported newsprint by as much as 32 percent.

Some small-market or rural newspapers, including those that serve communities with limited broadband access, may be forced to make expensive adjustments.

Fundamentally, this is an economic war on the printing and publishing industry. The American Forest and Paper Association, the national trade association for the paper industry, opposes NORPAC’s petition. Members of the printing, publishing and paper-producing industries, which employ more than 600,000 workers nationwide, have formed a coalition — Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers, to fight proposed duties on imports of Canadian uncoated groundwood papers including newsprint and other papers.

The coalition is asking the ITC and Congress to reject the tariffs and protect U.S. jobs, but we need your help as well.

The Department of Commerce is expected to make final antidumping and countervailing duty determinations in July, followed by a final injury determination from the ITC in August.

Please help us protect the future of newspapers by contacting the Department of Commerce, International Trade Commission, Sen. Bob Casey, Sen. Pat Toomey, or your local U.S. Congress representative and let them know that you oppose the proposed newsprint trade tariff.

A free press is more important than ever, and newspapers have always been at the forefront of serving our communities.

This is about maintaining a fair financial model for our changing industry. We are ready to make all necessary adjustments, but newsprint tariffs this high are unfair, detrimental to all and simply wrong.

Mark Cohen is the president of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.