Statement: ITC made the right call in reversing newsprint tariffs

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From the Alabama Press Association:

The International Trade Commission unanimously voted today to reverse the newsprint tariffs.  We will know about the commission’s reasoning when it issues a final report on Sept. 17.  The cash deposits will be refunded to newsprint manufacturers, but that will take several months.

Thank you to our Alabama congressional delegation, especially Sen. Doug Jones and Rep. Robert Aderholt who testified before the ITC on our behalf. Many thanks also to Rep. Bradly Byrne and Rep. Gary Palmer who signed onto the STOPP bill. Thank you to our member papers who participated in the fly-in to D.C., wrote editorials or simply reached out to their congressmen. It was truly an industry team effort!

By David Chavern, president & CEO, News Media Alliance

We applaud the International Trade Commission (ITC) for today reaching a final, unanimous negative determination that Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper, which includes newsprint used by newspapers, do not cause material harm to the U.S. paper industry.

The Department of Commerce recently upheld the tariffs and, though they revised them to slightly lower levels (but still as high as 20 percent), the tariffs would have been unsustainable for newspapers, other printers and publishers and printers.

Fortunately, our voice was heard at the ITC hearing last month, and they made the right call today in reversing these harmful tariffs.

Over the last several months, while the Department of Commerce and the ITC conducted their investigations into the trade case (brought by one paper mill, NORPAC), we have emphasized that the decades-long shift of news and information from print to digital platforms – not imports from Canada – is the cause of the decline in demand for newsprint.

Local papers provide essential coverage of local governments and community news and events. In many communities, the local paper is the only source of community news. Unfortunately, the damage to newspapers from preliminary tariffs imposed by the Department of Commerce since January has already been done. The tariffs have disrupted the newsprint market, increasing newsprint costs by nearly 30 percent and forcing many newspapers to reduce their print distribution and cut staff.

We hope today’s reversal of these newsprint tariffs will restore stability to the market and that publishers will see a full and quick recovery. Our democracy depends on it.