A single paper supplier, North Pacific Paper Company, has alleged that Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper, which is used for newsprint, directories, book publishing, circulars and other products, are being subsidized or shipments are being dumped into the United States.
As a result, tariffs as high as 32 percent have been placed on imported newsprint from Canadian paper mills. The tariffs are already being collected at the U.S./Canadian border. Printers and publishers are already feeling the pinch.
Meanwhile the U.S. Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission are investigating complaints of unfair trade practices leveled against Canadian suppliers by NORPAC.
NORPAC’s single mill is located in Washington; the company is owned by a New York-based hedge fund. No other U.S. paper mill supports the company’s petitions for tariffs. In fact, many within the industry oppose the tariffs because they will cause further damage to an already struggling industry and further reduce the demand for such paper, threatening hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
Just last week, the Wyoming Press Association continued its conversations about the tariffs. We, along with many printers, publishers and paper suppliers and distributors are working against the implementation of the tariffs.
Many on the WPA board worry about what increasing paper costs will do to the smallest newspapers in the state. These tariffs will force newspaper owners to face increasingly difficult questions. Can they continue to eat the increasing costs? Will they pass the cost on to readers? Will they make cuts to their staff? And…will the newspapers survive?
NORPAC’s argument that the Canadian paper industry is hurting American jobs and the country’s economy simply doesn’t pass the sniff test. The small Washington company has created the stir to line its own pockets without regard for the good of the whole. But in reality the tariffs will decrease the overall demand for the paper and therefore hurt NORPAC, too.
Whether the tariffs continue to climb or the International Trade Commission stops this, prices have likely increased without a chance of going back down.
You can help, though. Contact your congressional delegation and ask them to get involved. Ask them to express their concerns to the ITC about the impact of these tariffs on their constituents — you, your community and publishers and newspapers across the country.
If you want to know more about the issue, who it will affect and how you can help, see stopnewsprinttariffs.org.