The Texas Press Association has joined a new coalition fighting proposed countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties on imports of Canadian uncoated ground wood papers, including newsprint and other papers.
The coalition, Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers (STOPP), is comprised of members of the printing, publishing and paper-producing industries, which employ more than 600,000 workers.
The preliminary duties, which were assessed by the Department of Commerce in January and March, are the result of a petition filed by one company, North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC), an outlier in the paper industry that is looking to use the U.S. government for its own financial gain, according to STOPP.
Concerned that these duties, which range up to 32 percent combined, will saddle U.S. printing and publishing businesses with increased costs and threaten thousands of American jobs, the coalition is asking the International Trade Commission and the U.S. Congress to reject these newsprint tariffs and protect U.S. jobs.
STOPP has launched a new website for getting the word out about the effort. Other interested parties are invited to join in the fight to overturn the tariffs, which coalition members say could devastate newspapers, paper producers, book publishers and other industries.
“Newsprint is the second largest expense for small newspapers after human resource costs,” explained Susan Rowell, publisher of the Lancaster (SC) News and president of the National Newspaper Association. “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 bottom line is these tariffs on uncoated ground wood paper would not protect domestic paper producers. Paper manufacturers are not able to absorb the cost of the tariff and have already let it be known that the tariff will be passed on to U.S. consumers,” said Joel Quadracci, chairman, president & CEO of Quad/Graphics. “This will result in driving up the costs of print and force an even faster migration to digital options at a time when our industry is already being severely disrupted. This will result in the loss of U.S. jobs. In the case of rural residents with no broadband access, they will end up underserved with no newspaper, either.”
Allan Adler, General Counsel and Executive Vice President for the Association of American Publishers, said the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce should consider how protective duties can harm some important U.S. industries while protecting others.
“AAP joined the STOPP Coalition to address book publishing concerns that unjustified countervailing duties in the pending ITC proceedings regarding Canadian uncoated ground wood paper imports could cause material injury to U.S. book publishing and literacy programs for young readers by raising the cost of papers used to produce inexpensive paperback books for children,” Adler said.
“Publishers are already feeling the negative consequences of a tighter newsprint market and higher prices because of these preliminary newsprint duties,” said David Chavern, president and CEO, News Media Alliance. “We will turn over every stone to fight these duties so that there is no disruption in the flow of news and information to the citizens who rely upon printed newspapers throughout the country.”
“As the leading producer and employer for uncoated ground wood paper in the United States, we recognize that market erosion, not unfair trade, has caused more than a 75 percent decline in North American newsprint consumption since the year 2000,” said Seth Kursman, vice president of corporate communications, sustainability and government affairs for Resolute Forest Products. “The current investigation by Commerce, at the request of one outlier company, is causing even more turmoil and job losses in the newsprint and commercial printing paper segments.”
Michael Makin, president & CEO of Printing Industries of America (PIA), pointed out that printing companies, especially those in the Midwest and Northeast, will feel the havoc tariffs will bring to the marketplace. “Printers will be faced with the lose-lose proposition of absorbing the hit, which will lead to higher operational costs, or passing it on to their customers, many of whom wish to remain in print but have cheaper, electronic alternative methods to deliver content or to advertise,” he said.
In addition to newspapers and directories, UGW grades of paper are used extensively by book publishers, according to Jim Fetherston, president & CEO of Worzalla Publishing Company and current president of the Book Manufacturers’ Institute. “Imposing these duties and tariffs will have a devastating economic impact especially on the domestic printing industry and the tens of thousands of Americans employed in the process of making books,” he said.
Association for Print Technologies Vice President for Government Affairs Mark Nuzzaco said “technology suppliers stand shoulder to shoulder with their printing and publishing colleagues in STOPP, the efforts of which comport with APTech’s free trade agenda.”
In addition to TPA, members of the coalition include American Society of News Editors, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, Association of American Publishers, Association for Print Technologies, Book Manufacturer’s Institute, Catalyst Paper, Inland Press Association, Kruger, Local Search Association, National Newspaper Association, News Media Alliance, Printing Industries of America, Quad Graphics, Rayonier Advance Materials, Resolute Forest Products, Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, Trusted Media Brands (formerly Readers Digest Association), Valassis Communications, and Worzalla.